Letter from Boston Parents to Newton School Committee

Dear Newton School Committee Members,

We are Boston Public School Parents, and we are asking that you vote no on Question 2 this November. We are in support of your resolution to keep the cap on the number of charter schools.

Question 2 threatens the financial health of our districts and cities. It will bring more charter schools to the state but NOT more students and NOT more money!

Question 2 does nothing to address the opportunity gap between urban and suburban schools. In fact, the opposite is true. If Question 2 passes, the opportunity gap between the suburban and urban schools will grow into a chasm.

Question 2 calls for 12 new schools a year, every year. Even if the district doesn’t want them. This unmitigated growth will be incredibly destabilizing to our district and will result in the defunding and closing of our schools that serve our most vulnerable populations.

Boston currently has several thousand charter seats available.  A “No on 2” vote does not prevent these additional seats from being filled.

The “Yes on 2” campaign is being financed by a very few wealthy individuals, billionaires from out of state, and those wishing to profit from our children’s education. The Walton family alone has spent $1.8 million to help pass this initiative. The same individuals and foundations that backed Common Core are funding the charter school expansion nationwide.

You may have seen the “Lift the Cap” or “Yes on 2” tv ads during the Olympics that paint a picture of us desperate to get out of our schools. We are here to tell you that simply isn’t true. We’ve written about our experiences here, here and here.  We know our schools do not have the same resources and amenities as those in the suburbs. Our kids know this as well. Even with these disparities, Boston Public Schools is one of the top performing urban school districts in the nation.

We felt compelled to reach out to you because, as fellow parents, we know that you will understand how much our schools mean to us, just as your school means a lot to your community. We feel that this campaign is an attempt to privatize our district and take our schools away from city families and students. As parents who simply want what is best for our children, we don’t have the political connections or deep pockets that make it possible to back million dollar campaigns. But our communities are being threatened and we need your help.

Please join us in voting “No on 2” and support true public education in Boston. We are not members of a union or a private entity. Like you, our children attend public schools. Like you, we volunteer on our school site councils and family councils (similar to your PTA/PTO organization). Like you, we have invested our time, effort and love into building our school communities. In addition, we would be grateful if you shared our letter with members of your school community and other parenting communities. Our kids — and the future of public education in Boston —  are counting on you.

Signed,

Tonya Tedesco, Co-Chair Boston Arts Academy Family Council   tonyatedesco@gmail.com

Mary Lewis-Pierce, Co-Chair BTU K-8 Family Council    lewispierce@gmail.com

 

Angelina Camacho          Roxanne Hoke Chandler          Susan Ou          Yooree Losordo

Jacquea Lamb          Naama Goldstein          Heshan Berents-Weeramuni

Krista Magnuson          Karen Kast McBride          Kathy Cahill          Megan Wolf

Marlena Rose          Pata Dibinga          John Radosta          Chris Hoeh          Laurie Bozzi

Harneen Chernow          Malikka Williams          John Lerner          Joe Golding          Carol Ridge Martinez

Hilary Marcus          Karen Oil          Patricia Kinsella          Susan Moir          Mayre Plunkett

Karin McEwen          Julie Smith-Bartoloni         Kristin Johnson          Lance Laird

Michelle Ewing          Nicole Perryman          Timika Banks          Iranya Rivera          Sapna Padte

Charis Loveland          Stephanie Bode Ward          Jean Powers                Rossandry Rivera

Kevin Murray          Sara Barcan          Mary Battenfeld          Aurora Rivera          Vercheesa Thompson

Maria Dominguez Gray