Is Politics–Not School Improvement–Behind Brockton’s New Charter?

Andrea Gabor

Who doesn’t love a charter school?

From Newark to New Orleans, and Washington D.C. to Atlanta, charter schools are seen as the magic bullet not just for curing much of what ails public education, but for transforming poor communities themselves.

That’s what makes Brockton, Massachusetts, a down-at-the-heels city in Massachusetts so unusual. Brocktonians are up in arms over this week’s decision by the Massachusetts board of education to allow a charter school to open in Brockton. Opponents of the New Heights Charter School include the local newspaper, The Enterprise, which says it is generally “supportive” of charter schools. It includes, the mayor of Brockton, city council members, state representatives, members of the local school committee and, yes, parents—lots of them.

The New Heights Charter School will not serve Brockton’s diverse educational needs,  charges Tom Minichiello, vice chair of the Brockton School Committee: “Let’s look at what students the…

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