February 14, 2013

Boston Herald Editorial: Lesson in fairness

Boston Herald editorial staff
Thursday, February 14, 2013

The debate over charter schools has returned to Brockton, the scene of an unfortunate political battle over a charter school proposal back in 2008. The Patrick administration won that round by meddling in the application process. The administration has an opportunity now to prove the process is free of any improper political influence.

A group that includes former Brockton Mayor John Yunits has applied for a charter to open the International Charter School of Brockton, and plans to contract with Sabis, a for-profit company that runs successful charter schools in Springfield and Holyoke, to run it. Brockton is the only so-called “Gateway City” in the commonwealth without a charter school.

That distinction is thanks in part to former Education Secretary Paul Reville who back in 2008 quashed a similar application for a school in Brockton to be run by Sabis — against the recommendation of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education whose staff vetted the application and recommended it for approval.

Reville has moved on. His replacement? Matthew Malone,
who as superintendent of schools in Brockton until late last year helped lead the fight against the very charter application that is now pending. Just a few weeks before Patrick appointed him education secretary Malone proclaimed that Brockton doesn’t need a charter school and according to the Brockton Enterprise called the current application “an embarrassment.”

Malone will stay out of the final Brockton decision. And of course it is the default position of superintendents to fight charter schools that they (disingenuously) claim will “drain” money from district schools. As Patrick’s right hand on education matters he may now be singing a different tune, given the administration’s support for (limited) expansion of charter schools.

That tune should be that charter school applications — whether it’s this one in Brockton, or any of the others currently pending — must be evaluated strictly on the merits and according to the requirements of state law, and without interference by political appointees who see any particular advantage in the outcome.

Source URL: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/editorials/2013/02/lesson_in_fairness


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