The Gloucester Times reports that:
Chester’s endorsement of the school came against the advice of charter school experts in his own office, which had recommended that the Gloucester application “not be approved,” along with the two other charter bids this year.
In his request to Chester, acquired by the Times through the state’s public records law, Reville warned that rejecting all three charters would get the Patrick administration “permanently labeled as hostile” to charter schools, something that would “cripple us with a number of key, moderate allies like the (Boston) Globe and Boston Foundation.”
Boston Foundation? Is Secretary Reville saying that the Boston Foundation is a lobbying group for charter schools? Is this the group that wrote a “report” that charter lobbyists continually cite as a reason to expand Commonwealth Charters?
Anyway, it seems that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education determined that the Gloucester charter school should not be approved. Reville then tells Chester that the Gloucester proposal is a bitter pill that needs to be swallowed for political reasons. Only problem, it’s the taxpayers of Gloucester who are the ones who are being force-fed this bitter pill by the state. And they want to lift the charter school cap so more communities will need to swallow bitter, poision pills for political expediency?
Here is a text of the Reville email, as published by the Gloucester Times:
From: Reville, Paul
Sent: Thursday, February 5, 2009, 11:54 p.m.
To: Chester, Mitchell D. (DOE)
Hope all’s well and warm in AZ. I appreciated our talk today and your openness and flexibility. This situation presents one of those painful dilemmas. In addition to being a no-win situation, it forces us into a political cul de sac where we could be permanently trapped. Our reality is that we have to show some sympathy in this group of charters or we’ll get permanently labeled as hostile and they will cripple us with a number of key moderate allies like the Globe and the Boston Foundation. Frankly, I’d rather fight for the kids in the Waltham situation, but it sounds like you can’t find a solid basis for standing behind that one. I’m not inclined to push Worcester, so that leaves Gloucester. My inclination is to think that you, I and the Governor all need to send at least one positive signal in this batch, and I gather that you think the best candidate is Gloucester. Can you see your way clear to supporting it? Would you want to do the financial trigger even in light of likely stimulus aid?
Thanks for not seeing this as an independence issue. It really is a matter of positioning ourselves so that we can be viable to implement the rest of our agenda. It’s a tough but I think necessary pill to swallow. Let’s discuss some more tomorrow.