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Keep-the-cap supporters seek data on impact of charter school suspensions

Jule Pattison-Gordon
Keep-the-cap supporters seek data on impact of charter school suspensions
Photo courtesy of Save Our Public Schools Campaign. Opponents of raising the cap on charters delivered a letter to state education officials asking for information on the impact of repeated suspensions on charter school students.

Opponents of a ballot measure that would raise the cap on charter schools delivered a letter to state education officials today in which they called for information about the effect of repeated suspensions on students who attend charter schools.

In the battle over the cap, those in favor of charter school expansion often represent the schools as high-performing options, especially to low-income and minority students. With today’s letter, delivered to Jim Peyser, Secretary of Education, and Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, opponents presented a counter narrative, pointing to disproportionately high rates of suspension delivered to minority students and students with disabilities, including for minor offenses.

Signers of the letter included current and former teachers and educators. In their message they said that there are parents and educators who suspect that charter schools use frequent suspensions to push out children who may bring down test scores.

The letter presented a request for state education officials to provide data on the number of children who have been suspended multiple times from charter schools for non-violent offenses — including the number of suspensions each student received, which schools they were suspended from and the student’s race and economic, English Language Learner and disability status.

Letter signers also sought information on whether frequently suspended charter students remain at their charter school for the rest of the year in which they were suspended, return to district schools or drop out of school during that year.

The Save Our Public Schools campaign established a hotline for callers wishing to report their experiences of multiple suspensions: 617-943-4609.