Attack Ad brings charter schools to life as a political issue in the Boston Mayor’s Race
Voters across the state took a break from expanding the charter school, but the issue comes up in veil in the race for Boston mayor. Councilor Andrea Campbell defended herself Tuesday against the race’s first decidedly negative radio spot, which touches on the subject and challenges Campbell’s concern for students with special needs.
The ad, published last Thursday, features a deep, somber voice pointing to the “Special Interests” donors from the pro-charter school sponsoring Campbell’s Better Boston Super PAC, and concludes by arguing that Campbell is “on the wrong side” of a choice between special interests and students with special needs.
The ad was launched by the Hospitality Workers Super PAC, which supports incumbent Mayor Kim Janey’s candidacy. An official from the organization said the primaries should take place next week on September 14th.
Campbell, who supported the ultimately unsuccessful question about the expansion of the Charter School in 2016, called the ad “disappointing”, “disturbing” and untrue.
“Our voters deserve a vote that is based on facts and information that are real, not misinformation and certainly not lies,” Campbell said at a press conference in Grove Hall, Boston.
Campbell urged Janey to disavow the Super PAC, which has raised nearly $ 760,000 since its launch in June.
In response, Janeys campaign called Campbell’s comments “the height of hypocrisy” as Campbell frequently criticizes the incumbent mayor’s handling of city issues.
“Rather than attacking hotel workers for expressing their political views, Campbell should condemn the right-wing black money millionaires who want to privatize our public schools and who have invested millions of dollars in television advertising to support Campbell’s campaign,” said Kirby Chandler , Janey’s campaign manager, in a statement.
Chandler declined to comment on whether the campaign would disavow the hospitality workers ad.
Campbell’s campaign did not suggest any plans to disavow Better Boston support.
The question of charter schools has historically been a political hotspot in Boston, with opponents distinguishing between them and the Boston Public Schools.
“For decades, opponents of public charter schools in Boston have falsely claimed that these schools are not public schools when in fact they were established by the pioneering Massachusetts Education Reform Law of 1993 as a public school option that the nation has spearheaded serving the largely poor and minority students enrolled in Boston’s charter schools, ”said Jamie Gass, director of education and research at the Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank. Pioneer has a long history of supporting charter schools.
“This imprecise, politicized stance has persisted among the mayoral candidates who are hostile to the public school charter, who are only vying for support for the teachers’ union, which is frankly tangential to the educational interests of Boston schoolchildren,” Gass said.
Juan Cofield, who chaired the anti-charter group Save Our Public Schools in 2016, rejected the idea that charter schools are completely the same thing as public schools.
“There’s no question that charter schools are using traditional public school resources … and that’s a huge problem,” he said, citing the large proportion of Boston students attending “traditional” BPS schools.
“I think the citizens of Boston want to be able to hold teachers and administrators of all schools in Boston accountable through the school committee, and the teachers and administrators of charter schools are not accountable to the Boston School Committee.”
Cofield rejected the idea that charters were an “important issue” in the mayor’s race, but the issue costs Campbell support in a number of political circles, including the highly active Jamaica Plain Progressives group, which did not support a candidate for mayor due to shared support.
“For me personally, this is definitely an issue,” said Krista Magnuson, a JPP member and BPS parent who opposed Question 2, an election question about expanding charter schools in Massachusetts that was rejected in 2016. coupled with her super PAC financiers, it made her a non-starter candidate.
“I don’t want to be indifferent to why people might choose charter schools for their children,” she said. “But in terms of more systemic support for charter schools, I can’t do that,” affirmed Cofield’s point about draining resources from public schools.
Magnuson added that “Anyone who knocked on the door in 2016 for the ‘No On 2’ campaign trying to protect BPS from the monetary effect that would be felt … they will have a hard time to accept a candidate who is still taking money “. by those forces who were our opposition five years ago. “
She is still undecided who she will support in the area code next week, she said.
When asked Tuesday whether the Charter School expansion is a positive part of the future for Boston, Councilor Campbell said no.
“As a mayor, you don’t even have control over it,” she said. “My job and my responsibility as councilor and mayor is to improve Boston Public Schools so our families don’t have to go anywhere else.”
When asked about the sponsors of the Pro-Charter School Super PAC, Campbell referred to the late Nonnie S. Burns, a donor widely known for her legal career and support for the right to abortion.
Campbell said the idea that donors are investing in their candidacy because of “some misinformation” is “just not true”.
“My focus as mayor will absolutely be on improving Boston Public Schools so our children don’t have to choose a different system,” said Campbell.
Supporters who showed up with Campbell on Tuesday said Campbell’s support for Question 2 was not intrusive.
“No, not at all,” said Kathy Gabriel, a Dorchester resident whose two adult children were busily engaged in the METCO program.
Originally from the island state of Trinidad and Tobago, Gabriel said the turmoil caused by the lifting of the Boston school-leaving effort in the 1970s inspired many Boston families to seek educational alternatives for their students.
“I think anyone who wants to send their children to school can choose where they want to send their child,” she said, referring to the once-ailing Jeremiah Burke School, which is just blocks from Campbell’s press conference.
“If you don’t want us to have charter schools, you have to improve the public schools,” said Gabriel.