There is an interesting evolution in education going on in the State of Massachusetts and the city of Boston. Lately we are seeing more and more students leaving the traditional public school system and moving to the newer charter school system. Charter schools are publicly funded, meaning no tuition. However, charter schools differ in that they are privately run. With a lower teacher to student ratio the curriculum at these new charter schools is designed to be more difficult with longer school hours. The objective is to prepare students for college. Today there are 63 charter schools in Massachusetts educating 23,000 students. 20% of those charter schools are in Boston!
An article written yesterday morning in the Boston Globe, “Teachers union rips outreach to charters,” discusses some of the internal strife that is beginning to develop out of this evolution. The article states that there is a looming budget gap of $63 million dollars in the Boston Public School Department’s budget. The article also states that enrollment is down and there are 5,600 empty seats in traditional public school classrooms. Boston’s school superintendent Carol R. Johnson has recommended that a number of schools should close or merge to help make ends meet. It also so happens that charter schools are growing quickly and are desperate for more space. I was pleased to hear that Boston’s public school leaders are considering the option to lease excess space to the growing charter schools. This move will generate income and help to alleviate the growing budget gap. Secondly, the move to lease more space to growing charter schools will provide more children with the opportunity to flourish in a prep school environment. Lastly, perhaps this evolution in public education will lead to higher standards for our publicly funded schools! Presently there are charter schools in the Back Bay, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roxbury, Brighton, Roslindale, East Boston, and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods of Boston.
Here is a list of charter schools in Boston and links to more information about them: 1) Academy of the Pacific Rim 2) Boston Collegiate 3) Boston Prep 4) Boston Renaissance 5) City on a Hill 6) Codman Academy 7) Conservatory Lab 8) Dorchester Collegiate 9) Edward Brooke 10) Excel Academy 11) MATCH 12) Neighborhood House 13) Roxbury Prep 14) Smith Leadership Academy.