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‘We never signed up for this’

Activists say their names were added to Great Schools list in error

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
‘We never signed up for this’
Not everybody who attended the March 8 Great Schools Massachusetts rally in East Boston is in support of charter school expansion.

Charter school advocates appear poised to push forward with their ballot initiative to lift the state’s cap on charters, despite a bid by a group of state senators to broker compromise legislation. The Great Schools Massachusetts campaign, which kicked off last year and will be backed by $18 million in funding, lists coalition partners on its website.

But two individuals listed by the campaign told the Banner they never agreed to be identified as coalition partners.

“I didn’t really sign on,” said Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition Executive Director Eva Milona. “Our membership is divided. We decided not to take sides. I don’t know why my name is still there.”

Milona said she requested that her name be removed from the list. As of Sunday, April 3, she was still listed.

Another individual whose name is listed as a coalition partner said she initially agreed to appear at a Great Schools Massachusetts March 8 rally, but then backed out when she found out it was in support of the charter school ballot question.

“They told me it was a press conference for education justice,” said the woman, who asked not to be named for this story. “Who wouldn’t want that? When I found out it was for the ballot question, I decided not to go.”

Yet she is listed as a supporter, although she says she has not signed on to the campaign.

The coalition partners listed include business groups, the liberal-leaning Democrats for Education Reform and the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

Double counting?

Of the 103 coalition partners listed – including organizations and individuals – three are listed twice: Chelsea Collaborative Executive Director Gladys Vega, LULAC Mass. Council 12113 Regla Gonzalez and the Massachusetts High Technology Collaborative.