We are writing in regard to the Dec. 18 commentary by Marc Kenen, executive director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. Kenen was responding to an opinion piece published Dec. 9 from John Provost, the Northampton superintendent, and William Diehl, executive director of the Collaborative for Educational Services.
It is important to note that this opinion piece was developed and signed by 16 of the 19 superintendents in Franklin and Hampshire counties, including each of us.
We respect the legislative process and hope to contribute vital information to the debate.
For citizens and their legislative representatives to vote on the expansion of charter schooling we need to understand the true costs and benefits of charter schools and traditional public schools.
While Kenen’s essay contributes to that public understanding, it does not fully address the central points that we were voicing — that charter schools disproportionately impact rural and small school districts; that we need policies that recognize and are responsive to that fact; and that charter school decisions should not be solely based on the conditions in Boston and other urban centers.
n our opinion piece, we said nothing that could be construed as “tearing down” our local charter schools.
We did note that there was room for debate — as Kenen’s commentary so clearly demonstrates — about the value, impact, funding, and accountability of charter schools.
Most importantly, we said nothing to suggest that we were not putting children first.
We differ on how best to do that.