MTA responds to threat of lawsuit on charters

Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni issued the following statement on Sunday, March 8, in response to a Boston Globe report that charter school proponents plan to file a lawsuit overturning the state's cap on charter schools:

Any claim that the charter school cap is the basis of Massachusetts children being denied their civil rights is appalling and deceptive. The real threat to our students – and to our democracy – is the two-tiered school system funded by public dollars that charter proponents will go to any lengths to expand.

If a lawsuit is pursued based on the description in today’s Boston Globe, it will represent just one more step in the effort to dismantle public education, put public resources into private hands, and undermine the schools in our poorest communities.

MTA educators, as we always have, will fight to ensure that the civil rights of all Massachusetts students are protectedThat will not be achieved by expanding charter schools, with their high expulsion rates, their determination to push out certain students in the interest of boosting scores on standardized tests, and their proven record of failing to serve English language learners and special needs students. As the NAACP has noted, charter schools violate students’ civil rights by “creating separate and unequal conditions for success.”

One deep concern is that the lawsuit will be a stacked deck because Governor Charlie Baker and his education secretary, James Peyser, clearly share the views of the attorneys who say they are preparing to file the claim. Any response to a lawsuit on this issue should be handled by the attorney general’s office, which is best positioned to defend the law as it now exists.

The real answer to ensuring equity is to guarantee the resources needed to provide the schools our children deserve in every community across our Commonwealth. Massachusetts educators are committed to working with parents, legislators and others to achieve that goal.

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