Are You Being Served?

How do Hillary Clinton’s *hardest-to-teach* students fare at Boston charter schools?

Reader: Hillary Clinton recently said something that made a lot of adult interests who put kids first really mad. In brief (because what she said was actually very brief), HRC said that most charter schools *don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or if they do they don’t keep them.* Which resulted in a flurry of sternly-worded rejoinders, like this one, this one and this one, none of which responded to HRC’s actual very brief words. Which gave me a wacky idea. What if we looked at some actual data?  Continue reading →

Shrinking Possible

How did the vision of what’s possible get so small?


While this Tweet from former school chancellor Joel Klein refers to NYC, he could mean any number of cities where pitched battles over charter schools have raised a complicated question:  Who exactly is a progressive when it comes to education? Continue reading →

Kick the Cap

Behind the scenes (and out in the hallway) at the Statehouse charter school hearing…

statehouseAnd that’s a wrap, folks! After nine hours, and thousands of pages of testimony concerning 35 different pieces of legislation—35!—this week’s marathon hearing on the state and future of charter schools in the Bay State had finally reached its end. But still, the question lingered: had anyone actually learned anything? It might surprise you to learn that my answer is an unabashed *Yes.* In fact, I learned quite a lot.
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Can You Spare $91,440?

Make that $111,039.50…

Update: Since I posted this story, a new study has officially confirmed what was already evident. Massachusetts has among the worst public records access in the country, earning an F from the Center for Public Integrity. That *F* by the way, stands for *fees,* as in the big fat kind. In fact, since our research group submitted our original public records request, several of the charter schools have increased their fees even higher. Boston Collegiate Charter now wants $9,330 for the information we requested. Excel Academy now wants $16,972.50. Match is up to $37,532. And Neighborhood House is up to $17,645. Which brings today’s big fat tally to $111,039.50—and rising. 

Here’s a math question for you, reader. Say one wanted to submit a public records request to a handful of charter schools, inquiring about their recent lobbying activities. How much do you suppose such a request might set one back? If you answered $91,440, you would be on the money.

FOIABut what kind of information could possibly merit fees of that kind? Refresh your beverage, reader, for ours is a long and twisted, not to mention outrageously expensive tale…  Continue reading →

Class Act

Why a civil rights law suit to lift the charter cap in Massachusetts could turn out to be the worst idea charter proponents have ever had…

white-bucks-2 (1)Quick reader: when is it perfectly appropriate to wear white after Labor Day? Why, when one is a legal eagle of the *white shoe* variety. This week, three of Boston’s whitest white shoe law firms, WilmerHale, Goodwin Procter LLP and FoleyHoag LLP, filed a class action law suit on behalf of the kids, vs the state’s charter cap—a  day that we secretly feared would never arrive due to the seemingly universally held opinion that the suit is a terrible idea. Continue reading →