Massachusetts Democrats for the Public School Company Store vs Charter Schools

 ♫ You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store ♫

Sixteen Tons Tennessee Ernie Ford

Ebeneezer Scrooge:  I have been forced to support the establishments I have mentioned through taxation and God knows they cost more than they’re worth. Those who are badly off must go there.

Scrooge 1970

I’m not going to stand by and allow our kids to go to failing schools

Representative Angela Williams Democrat of Colorado

There was a time when Unions and the Democrat party would rail against monopoly and the symbols of monopoly like the “company store” (not to be confused with the actual “company store” seller of fine linnens since 1911) where the workers dependent on the local company for their wages would spend said wages in a store owned by the company for their basic needs at the price the company set.

How times have changed:

The Massachusetts Democratic Party on Tuesday night voted to oppose a ballot question that would expand charter schools in Massachusetts, putting the party at odds with some of its members in the Legislature.

“Our local communities cannot afford to lose even more money to charter schools,” said former Rep. Carol Donovan, a Democratic State Committee member from Woburn, in a statement. “Already, cities and towns forced to make budget cuts every year due to the state’s underfunding of education and the money lost to charters. If this ballot question passes, it will create budget crises in hundreds of Massachusetts communities, and hurt the students who remain in our local district public schools.”

For those not familiar with Question 2 the Lowell sun reports:

upcoming ballot Question 2 would allow up to 12 charter schools or enrollment expansions every year. Preference would go to school districts whose academic performance places them in the bottom 25 percent of the state.

For a moment lets forget that the charter schools ARE in the local community and that they are in fact public schools within the local districts and consider what the committee woman is saying.

She is advocating that any child of a parent who can’t afford to pay twice for school (once for taxes and once for private school)  should be subject to a monopoly where regardless of the quality of the product, the safety of the environment where the product is produced or the end result of the use of the product every such child MUST use it.

That is the very definition of a company store.

Moreover said expansion gives preference to those places where the Monopoly has failed.

It’s interesting to note that, unlike the opposition, the support for Question 2 is bipartisan uniting Massachusetts GOP governor Charlie Baker:

“Closing the achievement gap and ensuring a quality education for all of the Commonwealth’s students is one of my top priorities,” said Governor Baker. “And charter schools, which are producing great academic outcomes, are one of many tools that must be part of the solution.”

‪And longtime democrats like state Senator Michael Rodrigues

“Public charter schools have helped to close the achievement gap by providing kids with longer school days, more personal attention, and outstanding results,” said Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “Lifting the cap, and providing more kids with the quality public education they deserve, isn’t about politics – it’s about what’s best for children.”

This is precisely what I saw at Amplify Choice in Denver where Democrat State Rep Angela Williams (now running for state Senate made a presentation on the difficulties of passing Charter school and school choice legislation

And boldly declared during her presentation:

It’s also why parents like Chhorvivoin Sumsethi are manning phone banks to pass it

Her child has been stuck on the waiting list for Lowell Community Charter Public School for two years. She has lost hope, she said, because it seems to take forever.

“I truly believe in competition for improvement of quality of education, and I feel that regular public schools don’t have enough competition,” she said. “And private schools — how many people among the general public can afford that?”

But as long as the Union owns the Public School company store and the Democrat party owns the unions Democrat voices like Rep. Frank Moran of Lawrence and Senator Rodriguez will be the exception rather than the rule.

Until that changes it will take ballot questions like question 2 to give Massachusetts voters a chance to decide if the Union company store has gets any competition.

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