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Ballot Question 2: A missed opportunity

Melvin B. Miller

The right to expand charter schools in Massachusetts has been defeated at the polls. Black residents in Boston have been deceived when considering Question 2 into believing that although charter schools have elevated the level of academic achievement of black students, it would be harmful to continue this strategy for success. The public school system’s primary objection is that it will lose the funds that follow students to their charter schools.

Most affluent parents in Boston send their children to parochial or private schools if they are not admitted to Boston Latin or other exam schools. Charter schools provide the only alternative choice for families with more modest incomes. An estimated 84 percent of the public school student population is black, Latino or Asian.

Whenever there is a strategy to benefit blacks it gets tabled because of unavailable funds. Yet in 2015, 57 Boston police officers were paid $250,000 or more. That is the pay grade of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest U.S. military position. There are no equivalently complex Boston police duties. Even half of what those police officers were paid is excessive. One-half of the total combined salaries of the 57 officers is at least $7,125,000. Yet there has been no objection to this allocation of funds.

While public schools have been improving, some charter schools are outstanding. Black students deserve access to the best.