A Lowell Sun / Fitchburg Sentinel editorial is blasting Senate Democrats - including Senators Anne Gobi, Jennifer Flanagan, and Jamie Eldridge - for hypocrisy on the issue of income inequality, because of their failure to stand up for students in underperforming school districts. These Democrats, the paper argues, "can't decide if they're for minority kids struggling in underperforming district schools or the campaign-cash-rich Massachusetts Teachers Association."
SENTINEL AND ENTERPRISE
By The Editorial Board
One of the biggest debates that should be taking place in the Massachusetts Senate -- but isn't -- is Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to lift the cap on the expansion of public charter schools.
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and some Democrats are holding it up. They can't decide if they're for minority kids struggling in underperforming district schools or the campaign-cash-rich Massachusetts Teachers Association.
It's time to stand up for the kids, Stan.
The same goes for area senators: Jennifer Flanagan of Leominster; Jamie Eldridge of Acton; and Anne Gobi of Spencer.
Several senators are hoping to avoid an official vote on Beacon Hill. They'd prefer to let voters decide the issue in a 2016 statewide ballot referendum. At present, the issue is polling 65 percent to 25 percent in favor of expansion.
Waiting an entire year to resolve an issue overwhelmingly favored by the public is a failure of elected leadership.
Plus, it's an outrage for Democrats who say they're looking out for the little guy and his family.
There are 37,000 children, mostly from minority families, stagnating on statewide charter-school waiting lists. They've got one chance to improve their lot through educational choice -- a choice that a Republican governor and a bipartisan majority in the House are willing to provide.
Here's a simple question: How can Senate Democrats, who fight against income inequality for the poor, take a dive on eradicating education inequality for the same constituency?
You can't unless you're a hypocrite.
Baker's plan is reasonable. It would allow for the slow and steady expansion of up to 12 new charter schools per year in the state's 25 percent lowest performing school districts.
For parents in urban communities with underperforming schools, more charter schools amount to hope that their children will get an opportunity to advance in the classroom. Why deny them that choice?
Stand up for the kids, Stan. Give Baker's plan the public hearing -- and Senate vote -- it deserves.