Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Political questions about charter schools

Very interesting article in yesterday's Boston Globe about the process used in approving Gloucester's newest charter school and particularly the role of Worcester's own Paul Reville (Secretary of Education) in it. A memo from Reville to Commissioner Chester found its way to the Globe:

In the e-mail, Education Secretary Paul Reville told the commissioner of elementary and secondary education that rejection of the Gloucester charter school proposal, along with the probable rejection of two other pending charter proposals, would send the wrong signal.

“Our reality is that we have to show some sympathy in this group of charters or we’ll get permanently labeled as hostile and that will cripple us with a number of key, moderate allies,’’ Reville wrote on Feb. 5. “It really is a matter of positioning ourselves so that we can be viable to implement the rest of our agenda. It’s a tough but necessary pill to swallow.’’

As for Worcester?

At the time of Reville’s e-mail, there were three charter school applications before the board: in Gloucester, Waltham and Worcester, which is Reville’s home town. In the e-mail, Reville said he was not inclined to push for a charter school proposal in Worcester. Instead, he said he preferred the Waltham proposal, but knew that Chester had concerns about that application.

“My inclination is to think that you, I, and the governor all need to send at least one positive signal in this batch, and I gather you think the best candidate is Gloucester,’’ Reville wrote. “Can you see your way clear to supporting it?’’

This comes, of course, as the Legislature is considering a bill filed by the Patrick administration to lift the cap on charter schools.
UPDATE: here's the Telegram and Gazette's take here. And welcome back, Jackie Reis!

No comments: