School & District Management

Expanding Charters in Massachusetts: Any Help for High Schools?

By Catherine Gewertz — July 16, 2009 1 min read

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is in Massachusetts today to help Gov. Deval Patrick unveil new legislation to expand the number of charter school seats in the state. And the proposed expansion is big, according to this story in the Boston Globe.

Compare this news with the way the Ed Department announced the event through a press release this morning. Under a headline saying that Duncan would join Patrick for an “education reform announcement,” it said the legislation would “support turning around underperforming schools and pushing for further Education Reform.” (capitalization is theirs).

I’m not yet sure to what extent the proposed charterization will affect high schools, but in blogging about this, I’m betting they won’t be excluded. So if I cross my eyes and let the Massachusetts proposal meld together with the Ed Department’s press release, it starts to look a bit like education reform = charterizing. (Please chime in here with other interpretations.)

Are charter conversions going to be the most potent form of leverage we can apply to make poorly performing high schools work better? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether Duncan’s call to turn around the country’s 5,000 lowest-performing schools will inject enough life into the work to crack the difficult high school nut once and for all.

Please jump in here.... what will it take to turn around our lowest-performing high schools?

A version of this news article first appeared in the High School Connections blog.