The Corner

Boston Charters See Record Applications after State Blocks New Schools

Massachusetts may have voted down Ballot Question 2, which, had it passed, would have raised the cap on the number of charter schools permitted in the state, but all is not lost. Indeed, the Boston Globe reports that the debate raised awareness about the state’s overwhelmingly successful charters, and, in consequence, applications have increased by more than two fold.

On Wednesday of this week, most Boston charters will be holding their lotteries, in which a huge pool of applicants will vie for spots in an artificially limited selection of schools — a supply problem created by the fact that the charter cap hasn’t been raised in seven years. The Massachusetts Charter Public School Association reports that the total number of applications for 16 Boston charters has surged to 35,000 from 13,000 last year, facilitated by a new online process that allows easy application to multiple schools at once. Both the increase in applicants for more than one charter and an increased number of total applicants show that the headline-grabbing ballot initiative to open more charters managed to raise interest in them, even though it failed to raise their legislated limit. That limit restricts 35,000 applications to a paltry 2,100 available seats.

The Boston Teachers Union is already denying that there are so many applications, with a spokesman saying “They have inflated other numbers in the past.” However, previous charges of wait-list “inflation” referred to state-generated figures, which the unions had little evidence for disputing. The accusation that the charter school association would lie about these new numbers also requires evidence, but the union hasn’t offered any.

This application increase should come as no surprise. Supporters of Ballot Question 2 saw disappointing results in Boston on election night, but facts about the city’s charters reached more residents’ ears — a powerful thing for families interested in change. Similar patterns occur with gun sales, which frequently rise when gun control measures are proposed.

With charters facing increased scrutiny regarding accountability and general standards, it is remarkable that the state with perhaps the most undeniably transformative charters would reject their expansion. Nevertheless, the cap remains, and it will do nothing to help the children who face long odds to win a seat — a prized possession for the happy few who see their names come out of the hat.

Paul Crookston — Paul Crookston is a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review and a graduate of Gordon College, at which he studied history and communication. At Gordon he was managing editor of ...

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More