I am, in general, in favor of charter schools. Well, actually, I'm in favor of vouchers and then letting the parents pick whatever school they can get their kids into. I'm pretty sure I've read in James Klock's FB page that the expulsion rate of such schools in Chicago is generally 10x larger than it is in government-run public schools that more or less have to take kids. I honestly don't know what to think of that - it seems similar to the private school I went to as a child - there wasn't a lot of imposed discipline, and the students got a lot of freedom, but the deal was, you flunk a course, you mostly were out. I'm pretty happy with the education I got there, My parents sacrificed a lot to get me there. In my mind, charter schools are a shot at a low-end version of that, and I gather that might well be a naive view. However, on looking at the exclusion rates in Massachusetts, the charter schools seem to be much closer to the government-run norm than James cites (http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/gradrates.aspx
The major thing I dislike about both sides of Question 2 is that neither of them, to my mind, is particularly telling the truth about funding. The "no" people say that it drains money from public schools. This is patently false, since by the definition in the relevant General Laws,
"A commonwealth charter school shall be a public school, operated under a charter granted by the board, which operates independently of a school committee and is managed by a board of trustees. "
so this bit is zero sum. But the yes people aren't being entirely honest either. They claim that school budgets in the affected districts will rise - but so far as I can tell, that rise doesn't come from the existence of the charter school, but that school budgets in general get larger.
The intent of the laws seems to be to try to improve education in lower-achieving districts.
"Not less than 2 of the new commonwealth charters approved by the board in any year shall be granted for charter schools located in districts where overall student performance on the statewide assessment system approved by the board under section 1I of chapter 69 is in the lowest 10 per cent statewide in the 2 years preceding the charter application."
It's true that the government-run schools in those districts will get less money, but they will also get less students. I gather the argument is that there's some economy of scale which lets schools have additional programs which are going to be affected by the fragmentation of the student body into smaller school sizes. I'd think the question is whether any increased performance by kids who go to charter schools outweighs that or not - I'd actually love to see both sides argue that, but in this day of politics by social media micro-burst, that seems unlikely to happen.
Anyway, I commend the General Laws on the subject to anyone in Massachusetts who is planning on voting on the question:https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXII/Chapter71/Section89
You can see the proposed changes here:https://ballotpedia.org/Massachusetts_Authorization_of_Additional_Charter_Schools_and_Charter_School_Expansion,_Question_2_(2016