One of the most talked-about statewide ballot question in this November's election is Question 2, which asks Massachusetts residents if the cap on charter schools should be lifted. If the measure passes, more charter schools could be created in the state. Jamaica Plain resident State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, is the chair of the state's Committee on Education. Jamaica Plain News was able to speak with Chang-Diaz during the recent JP Music Festival and asked her opinion of Question 2. A yes vote would allow for up to 12 approvals each year of either new charter schools or expanded enrollments in existing charter schools. While new charter schools could be approved every year, overall charter schools enrollment could not exceed 1 percent of statewide public school enrollment. A no vote would make no change in current laws to charter schools.
There will be no school closings. Charter schools will not supplant public schools. Boston's Chief of Education Rahn Dorsey and Boston Compact Chief Collaborator Rachel Weinstein made those two statements clear at the sixth in a series of neighborhood meetings this fall to test out the idea of uniform enrollment and receive feedback from parents. The meeting drew more attention than previous ones due to an article published in Esquire magazine earlier in the week that accused Boston Mayor Marty Walsh of wanting to close Boston Public Schools and move charter schools into the buildings. Walsh quickly disputed the Esquire magazine piece, calling it "...untrue and unsourced, and references meetings that the Mayor has never had." That rumor still hung over Thursday's meeting, held at the First Church of Jamaica Plain. According to several participants, the JP meeting was attended by more people than any previous meeting, with some parents coming from other neighborhoods.