By Steve Gunn
BOSTON – Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would lift the cap on the number of charter schools in their state.
That’s because, as an article published by Examiner.com put it, “several studies have concluded that charter schools improve education, including a study from Stanford University that found that students at charter schools in Boston are learning at double the rate of (public school) district students.”
But that success story is not good enough for a group of teacher union members and their supporters who rallied in Boston yesterday in an attempt to mark their territory.
Charter schools may be great, but these union teachers don’t want them invading any more of their traditional turf and providing unwanted competition for students.
They claim that charter school expansion would “diminish” public education. They’re forgetting that charter schools are public schools, so it’s hard to see how they could diminish the quality of public education when they outperform traditional schools.
The protesters also complain that charter schools take financial resources from traditional schools every time a student leaves to enroll in a charter school. They say if that trend continues, many traditional schools will be forced to close.
In other words, the group wants to take away the right of parents to transfer their children to better schools, just so traditional schools won’t lose more money and face the prospect of closing.
What the protesters aren’t saying is that they’re really trying to preserve their own jobs by attempting to avoid competition. As more students transfer to superior charter schools, there will be less need for union teachers in traditional schools.
While it’s sad to see anyone lose a job, it’s even sadder to see so many children trapped into attending sub-par traditional schools.
Perhaps if the folks running the traditional schools spent as much time trying to improve their programs as they do whining about money, fewer students would leave and more teachers could keep their jobs.
It’s just a thought.