, Gloucester, MA

December 3, 2012

Editorial: Don't blame critics for charter's plight

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Speaking about the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School last week, Secretary of Education Paul Reville stated, “We’ll never know, in the absence of that kind of implacable opposition to the school, if they would have succeeded.” (Editorial, “Ed chief’s remarks spotlight need to end divisiveness,” the Times, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012).

In reality, there is considerable evidence that it would not have succeeded.

Mr. Secretary, what lesson are you offering children when you avoid responsibility for your role in the chartering of this school, and try to blame the school’s failures on the people who have simply documented them for the public to see?

Despite criticism, sometimes harsh criticism, other public schools, charter and traditional, are not facing closure by the state. Parents continue to send their children to them. Teachers and staff don’t quit en masse.

It isn’t critics of the school who have failed to follow law, regulation and process. It wasn’t critics of the school who caused all those teachers and staff to leave. It wasn’t critics of the school who caused enrollment to be nowhere near what the school predicted.

It isn’t critics of the school who, two years after it opened, are still trying to figure out what the curriculum is, are not engaging students, and are not maintaining discipline — as reported by state evaluators who visited the school in October for a long-planned evaluation, not a surprise inspection.

I’m proud to live in a community where people have stood up to the dishonest actions of state officials and have kept a bright light shining on the consequences of that dishonesty.



The author is a plaintiff in the Dolan v. Chester lawsuit.