School Choice & Charters

Mass. Law Makes it Easier for Charters to Recruit ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 14, 2011 1 min read
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A charter school operator in Massachusetts is taking advantage of a requirement in a new state law that public schools must turn over contact information of parents and the languages they speak to charter operators.

Alan Safran, who runs MATCH Public Charter School in Boston, says that the new requirement has enabled his organization to get a document about schooling options to parents who were hard to reach previously, reports a National Public Radio affiliate in Boston. MATCH was just approved by the state board of education to open a new charter school, and that school is designed to serve English-language learners. In an article about charter schools and ELL published last Sept. by EdWeek, I quoted Safran making the point that the new law would help his organization to recruit ELLs.

An ELL advocacy group has complained that the applications for most of the other 15 charter schools that were approved by the board recently did not comply with the state’s new requirements for demonstrating how they will recruit and serve ELLs.

Some charter schools in other states have a strong focus on ELLs, such as those in Philadelphia run by ASPIRA of Pennsylvania, or the Raul Yzaguirre School for Success run by a community-based Latino advocacy organization in Houston that I featured in the September EdWeek story about charters and ELLs.

I’m wondering if Massachusetts is unique in requiring public schools to turn over names and addresses of parents to charter operators. I can see how charter operators may be at a disadvantage in recruiting ELLs, if they don’t have that contact information.

Readers, if you know the answer to this question in your state, please hit the comment button.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.