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Don't ask the state senate's education chairwoman how she's voting on the charter-school ballot question

Sonia Chang-Diaz

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz says she's so disgusted with both sides of the Question 2 issue she doesn't want her answer to be used by either of them to bolster their case.

"I have real beefs with the way the campaigns have been carried out," she said tt a candidate forum sponsored by the Ward 11 and 19 Democratic ward committees in Jamaica Plain last night.

Not that she likes the question itself, either. Chang-Diaz said Question 2, which would allow the expansion of the number of charter-school seats in Massachusetts, is "a menu of bad options, and that's putting it politely."

She said that while it's inexcusable some parents are forced to keep their kids in public-school programs that aren't working for them when there might be better charter options, it's equally awful that the question would drain money away from public schools that really can't afford to lose the funds.

"I don't know what to tell you," she said. "Those are terrible choices."

What compounds the issues, she continued, is that the state is probably already underspending $1 billion to $2 billion a year on education.

Chang-Diaz is opposed in the Sept. 8 Democratic primary for the 2nd Suffolk district by perennial candidate Roy Owens. He did not attend.

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Comments

I think that is well said. Question 2 sucks and people really should vote no, but if your child is in a school that isn't working for your child then that sucks too. I'm not sure more charters will make it better, but something needs to be done. It sounds like Chang-Diaz is either going to vote no or leave that part of her ballot blank. That might be what I do to.

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And the judges give her 10.0's across the board!! She really stuck that landing on twisting away from giving a position while positioning herself with the appropriate level of disdain for "politics as usual!" /snarkoff/

So what IS her position on charter schools? Not the ballot question, but on whether we should privatize our educational system - which is what this is about. It's not about choice. You either reform your public school system and make it work for everyone (even if that means beating the fuck out of the unions) or you hand it off to the private sector. Seems to me that doing it piecemeal as we are just hides the inherent failings of the private system (i.e., I don't think a quality education that's guaranteed to every child is a profit-maker without nasty corn-like subsidies/corporate welfare from the govt.).

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In the Boston area, the vast majority of charter schools are NOT private sector. I don't know of any run by for-profit companies (if there are any, it's a very small number).

What charter schools do is provide options for people who can't afford private schools but whose kids need to be taught differently than the standard public schools provide. Even in towns with what are considered excellent public schools, I've known people whose kids did not do well with the standard model and thrived in a charter school that took a different approach.

There's no need to vilify charter schools. You can be against them without considering them evil and venal. But they are filling a real need.

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The question itself is FAR too loosely worded and would allow for rapid expansion with little oversight. As much as I am a happy district school parent, I don't believe that all charters are evil. I do believe that one of the reasons Massachusetts charters have been better than elsewhere in the country is the amount of oversight and limits to how new schools can start.

Plenty of urban school systems elsewhere in the country have been decimated by unchecked and unregulated charter expansion.

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I'm a fan of Massachusetts charter schools in no small part because they are better regulated than their counterparts in other states.

Does this ballot question change the underlying regulation of charters? I was not aware of that.

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According to the question the same standards will be in place. And while I mentioned above that Massachusetts' charter schools can often fare better than the truly terrible ones in other states, the state audit of the DESE showed the department was having trouble in the areas of renewals, school data, and overstated wait list numbers.

My point being, we may be doing better than other states at the charter game, but is that really enough to justify adding 12 new schools a year?

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What? Who do you think is pushing this ballot question? How about:

Fidelity Investments
Bain Capital
First Atlantic Capital
Bank of America
Rock Ventures LLC (An investment firm in NY!)

Not to mention all the other shady donors going to great length to hide their identities. Please do not let the fact that Boston has some beloved charter schools allow you to think that its ok to hand any aspect of our educational system over to groups like this.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/08/19/the-checks-are-pouring-into-...

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She doesn't want to take a stance because she doesn't want to alienate the teachers union if she's for it and piss off parents if she's against it.

Real leader here.

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Just not like this.

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She didn't say 'but not like this.' She's just not saying.

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To Ya Right:

You said "She doesn't want to take a stance because she doesn't want to alienate the teachers union if she's for it and piss off parents if she's against it."

You meant to say "She doesn't want to take a stance because she doesn't want to alienate the teachers union if she's for it and piss off her hedge-funder donors if she's against it."

Because that's who's backing this Question 2.

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Big shocker there. Referendums are an awfully blunt instrument, with victory often to the side with the most money and best marketing (Brexit?). I understand their usefulness as a way to spur the legislature into action on a given issue. It should come as no surprise that a state senator doesn't like them. I believe in democracy, but it scares me that such a massive amount of money could shift hands from public to private based on the slick TV ads by the Yes camp.

I would disagree with her concept of "forced" to keep kids in schools that aren't working. I know BPS allows for a transfer each year in K-5, and once again in middle school and high school. I can't speak to other districts on this, however.

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I have had a largely good experience with both BPS and a charter school. I have concerns with both the out of state forces pushing blanket expansion of charters and the BPS administration (Madison Park, artisanal popsicle guy, etc...)

The binary nature of a referendum leads the results to be viewed as answering the question as to what the public supports in a general way while in fact the details are super critical. This isn't something like 'should liquor stores be open on Sunday Y/N' or the like. It's very disappointing question and a nice piece of evidence as to why referendum politics are just as imperfect as many other forms of democracy we use.

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What is she trying to hide?

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Good bye Sonia.

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So Roy Owens can count on your vote?

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