Birch: Charter school education put him on a path to a better future

This letter originally appeared in the Boston Globe

RE “CHARTERS aren’t draining district school funding”: In the battle over Question 2, thousands of voices from current and former charter school students, like me, have been left out. I know without a doubt that the educational and professional opportunities I’ve accessed are due to the foundation set during my middle and high school years at a public charter school in Boston.

My mother’s decision to enroll me in a charter school wasn’t an attempt to drain district school budgets or take resources from other students. It was a decision to put me on the path toward a better future. And because school dollars follow each student, my own education was funded and supported at no one’s expense. Thankfully, your editorial adequately points this out.

Opponents of Question 2 are attempting to pit the opportunities of thousands of kids like me — overwhelmingly students of color, like me — against a status quo that is broken and not serving anyone.

It is frustrating to see school committees across Massachusetts take a position against this ballot question in the name of protecting their budgets. It is equally frustrating that opponents of this measure frame it as being a Republican movement. Democratic support of charter schools, including my own and President Barack Obama’s, is firmly in place. Providing a high-quality public education is the concern of everyone.

Donovan Birch Jr.

Boston