The state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be meeting this morning to decide whether the decide the fate of the Gloucester Commmunity Arts Charter School – reportedly whether students will even get to finish the current school year, let alone whether the school will ever get to live out its full five-year charter.
And with state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester poised to recommend that the school’s charter be revoked, it’s clear that Gloucester’s venture into this alternative education program does not have long to continue.
But while any decision to shut down the school will ultimately be up to a basic “yes” or “no” vote from each of the state board’s 11 members, all should also offer advice to the Gloucester Community Arts parents and students — the majority of whom have seemingly found measures of success at the school despite the many missteps of the school’s Board of Trustees and other officials. And while it may be too much to ask, they should also hear and consider the parents and students case for allowing the school to continue.
For while the adults at the center of this debacle — including Chester and the state board in the past — are all guilty of mismanagement, lack of oversight and all of the other issues on the verge of bringing the school down, it’s important to remember that behind the school’s disheartening test numbers and reviews are still more than 100 Gloucester families who rely in the school and continue to maintain faith in it. And to suggest that they simply return to a school district they had chosen to leave — especially in mid-year, if Chester and the board seek a contrived “emergency” renovation – would be a betrayal of faith that even this state board should want to avoid.