Mass. voters reject ballot question on charter schools

The Boston Globe | By David Scharfenberg
November 8, 2016

no2Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly rejected a major expansion of charter schools Tuesday, brushing aside calls for greater choice amid concerns about the overall health of public education.

The vote is a major victory for teachers unions and civil rights organizations, which argued that charters are diverting too much money and attention from traditional public schools that serve the overwhelming majority of students.

“It’s really clear from the results of this election that people are interested in public education and value that,” said Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and a leading opponent of Question 2, at an election night party at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. “There should be no conversation about expanding charters,” she added, until the Legislature moves to “fully fund our public schools.”

With 87 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, the “no” side was leading 62 percent to 38 percent.

The lopsided result is a significant setback for Governor Charlie Baker, who aggressively campaigned for the referendum, saying it would provide a vital alternative for families trapped in failing urban schools.

“I am proud to have joined with thousands of parents, teachers and education reformers in a worthwhile campaign to provide more education choices for students stuck in struggling districts, and while Question 2 was not successful, the importance of that goal is unchanged,’’ the governor said in a statement late Tuesday night.

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