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The low standards of charter schools

I couldn’t believe it when I heard from the MTA that charter schools are not required to hire certified teachers, unless English as a Second Language/English Language Learners (ESL/ELL). They don’t even have to hire teachers with bachelors degrees. This was confirmed by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. I’m a retired teacher, and we had to knock ourselves out to keep our jobs: passing MTELL teacher tests; certification involving master’s in field in five years; recertification every five years with required Personal Development Points; a tough course in Sheltered English Instruction for ELLs and endorsement; lesson plans and grades on line with correlating strands of Common Core; lengthy evaluations with tons of evidence and several unannounced observations each year; students must have passing MCAS scores, and if a whole school is failing the state can take over and fire the staff; teachers must keep alternative MCAS portfolios for special-ed kids.

There’s a double standard here!

Charter schools can cull problem and special-ed kids; public schools take everyone. There’s no state or community oversight of charter schools. Public schools are being starved as funds — $450 million statewide — go to charter schools. There’s a self-fulfilling prophesy here: public schools do fail when underfunded, when electives like art and music go, when teachers deal with enormous class sizes of needy kids. That appears to me to be the plan. Please help stop the corporate take over of our public schools. Vote no on Question 2.

Charlotte Burns


No corporate influence in public education

Massachusetts has a long history of egalitarian freedom and liberty. There is something very special about these many hills we call home. Our license plates say it all, “The Spirit of America.” The sovereign liberty of all Massachusetts municipal cities and towns is at stake this Nov. 8th. Powerful interests from the Empire State seek to dominate and subjugate the resources provided for and by the public school system of our state.

Fellow citizens, follow the money. Please join the campaign to Save Our Public Schools from corporate influence and exploitation. Stand with the public school teachers of Massachusetts and defend the children they serve. Give power to your local school committee and reject the veiled attempt to “take over” the resources provided for and by the public school system of Massachusetts.

Michael Thomas Siciliano


Haunted by meat

I have no fear of all the goblins, the witches, or even the evil clowns that lurked around on Halloween. What really scares me are the latest reports about the meat industry.

Like news of pig farms dumping millions of gallons of pig feces into North Carolina’s water supplies during Hurricane Matthew. Or of saturating their neighborhoods with windborne fecal waste spray. Or of animal farming accounting for more greenhouse gases than transportation. Like recurring media exposes of horrific atrocities against animals on factory farms. Or of subjecting slaughterhouse workers to crippling workplace injuries at slave wages. Or of exploiting farmers by controlling prices. Like repeated reports of studies linking consumption of animal products with elevated risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. Or reports of the meat industry bullying health authorities to remove warnings from dietary guidelines.

Now, that’s really scary. I fought back by dropping animal products from my menu, and my local supermarket has rewarded me with a colorful display of fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a rich selection of plant-based forms of meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams. I am no longer scared, though I still fear for my friends and neighbors.

Eddie Buster