Vote No on 2: Protect Public Education

noon2-400Over the main entrance of my high school, James Madison, were his words “Education is the True Foundation of Civil Liberty”. Central to our nation’s struggles for raising the standard of living for the disadvantaged has been the opportunity for quality public education at little or no cost to families. In fact, for decades, enemies of democracy at home have been working to cut public investment in our pubic schools and our public colleges and universities. They understand that teaching young people to think critically, to ask questions, to arm them with analytic skills, will be a danger for those who depend on exploitation and inequality to accumulate their wealth.

Young people who grow up with knowledge of critical social struggles, whether the labor movement, civil rights movements, or woman’s suffrage, can only strengthen the pressure to reduce economic inequality and the current wealth gap between a small minority and large majority. Such students are unlikely to accept an economy where CEOs make 100 x the salary as workers, where climate change science is dismissed, or be buffaloed by false claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction as a pretext for foreign invasions.

Thus we find that the leading backers of the charter school expansion and referendum are Wall Street financiers, e.g.:

Bradley Bloom, Managing Director of Berkshire Partners, ($100,000); Edward Shapiro, Partner of Par Capital Management, $200,000); Joshua Bekenstein, Managing Director of Bain Capital ($40,000); Paul Edgerley, also a Managing Director of Bain Capital ($40,000); Joanna Jacobson, Managing Partner of Strategic Grant Partners, ($40,000); Seth Klarman, Founder of The Baupast Group, a hedge fund, ($40,000) Martin Mannion, Managing Director of Summit Partners, ($30,000), Shari Redstone, president of National Amusements (100,000); Abigail Johnson, CEO Fidelity Investments and Manager of FMR LLC ($40,000).

The long struggles for educational equity for African-Americans, for students with special needs, and for recent immigrants, continue. However, the answer is not more charter schools. Charter schools in Massachusetts developed as an effort to begin to privatize pubic schools and turn public investment into private profits. Though charter schools are non-profit entities, for-profit school management companies often operate them. According to a recent report from the pro-charter Pioneer Institute, these firms need more and larger charter schools to maximize their profit margins. Where do their profits derive? From the per pupil allocation from local communities, transferred to charter schools when students move from a public school to a charter school. Note that the reduction of a limited number of students in a pubic school doesn’t reduce costs significantly. Schools still to have to pay their teachers, equip their laboratories and gyms, and heat and cool their buildings. In fact, when charter schools push students out – which they do at high frequency if the students are struggling – the per pupil payment is not returned to the school district that re-enrolls the student. The process of charter schools pushing out struggling students to keep MCAS scores, and college admissions numbers artificially inflated, is documented in various reports, most recently for special needs students

We need to increase pubic funding for our public schools, and not undermine the possibilities for educational equity and excellence, which follows from draining their budgets for charter school operation and educational privatization. This is why Elizabeth Warren, the PTA, over 200 school committees from cities and towns all over the Commonwealth, the NAACP, Our Revolution (which emerged from the Bernie Sanders Campaign), the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Massachusetts AFT, Massachusetts Alliance of Retired Americans, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Black Lives Matter, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, and many other community groups have joined with Save Our Public Schools and Massachusetts Peace Action to say NO ON 2.


Our opponents have millions of dollars from hedge funds and corporate backers. We rely on people power to stand up for children in our public schools and it looks like we may just win this one, but we have to keep the effort up. Sign up to volunteer at