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New England News

Gov. Baker Pushes Charter School Bill On Beacon Hill

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Governor Charlie Baker is calling on lawmakers to expand charter schools in Massachusetts, saying they can help close the achievement gap for children in the state's underperforming school districts.Baker testified before the Legislature's Education Committee on Tuesday as it considered several bills including a proposal from the Republican governor that would allow for up to a dozen new or expanded charters each year outside the existing cap on the schools.

Baker said there were 37,000 children currently on waiting lists hoping to get into one of the approximately 80 charter schools that operate in Massachusetts.

“Most of the highest-performing schools in the commonwealth are charter schools that serve students located in some of the state’s lowest-performing school districts,” said Baker.

The governor indicated a willingness to negotiate with Democratic lawmakers, but added: "The time is already long past to address this issue."

Charter school opponents say they drain resources away from traditional public schools.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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