Accountability Billionaires Charter Schools Corporate Reformers Education Industry Privatization

New York Times: Balanced Account of Battle Over Question 2 in Massachusetts

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The New York Times published a fair and balanced account of the heated battle over Question 2.

It notes that $34 million will (so far) be spent on this question over whether to expand the number of charter schools. Most of it is “dark money” from out of state billionaires, like the Waltons of Arkansas.

It interviews people who favor Question 2 and people who oppose it.

It says that some leaders (like Elizabeth Warren) are against Question 2, while others (Governor Baker) support it.

It notes that some civil rights groups (like the Urban League) are for it, while others (the NAACP and Black Lives Matter in Cambridge) are against it.

The good news buried in the article is that the latest poll shows Question 2 losing.

It says that advocates for charters say it will cost no new money to open more charters, while supporters of public schools insist that it is already causing budget cuts in public schools and will lead to more budget cuts and school closings.

The bottom line of the battle is at the end of the article, where Maurice Cunningham of Boston University, who has studied the money behind the charter question, says:

“if you can’t stop the hidden billionaire money in Massachusetts, then you can’t stop it anywhere.”

Conversely, if the people of Massachusetts can beat back the billionaires, despite their command of television and the Boston Globe, then citizen action can beat the billionaires everywhere.

What is so thrilling about the battle over Question 2 is that everything we have discussed on this blog is coming out into the open: the NAACP, with its call for a moratorium, has stripped away phony claims about school choice being the “civil rights issue” of our time. The billionaires’ privatization agenda is debated daily by parents and civic activists. The fact that school choice is being pushed by Republicans and opposed by many Democrats is explicit.

If the people of Massachusetts vote “NO” on Question 2, it will be a resounding defeat for the billionaires and their Dark Money groups, and it will echo around the nation.

If the people of Massachusetts vote “NO” on Question 2, it will signal their determination to build a strong public school system for all children, not simply add a few more escape hatches for a few children, which would debilitate the public schools.

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