Statement on Speaker Robert DeLeo’s Support of Question 2

Statement on House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s Support of Question 2 

BOSTON – Massachusetts House of Representatives Speaker Robert DeLeo today announced his support for Question 2. Speaker DeLeo made his announcement during an interview on WCVB’s "On the Record"program, which will air on Sunday. The November ballot question seeks to lift the state-imposed cap on public charter schools in Massachusetts. 

“I decided to do what I feel is best for students. I think it is the right thing to do,” the Speaker said. Earlier this year, when asked about charter school expansion more generally, the Speaker said, ”Who am I as a speaker or a Senate president or a governor to tell a parent that no, we're sorry, we're not going to give your child that opportunity? And I've always been a strong supporter of public education.”

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) enthusiastically welcomed the Speaker’s announcement. 

“We commend Speaker DeLeo for having the courage to stand up for kids and families who are desperate for a better public school option,” said Liam Kerr, Massachusetts State Director for DFER. “Speaker DeLeo joins the company of other great Democrats in support of high-quality charter school expansion, including President Obama, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Education John King and Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.”

Recently, Democratic Congressman Steven Lynch announced his support of Question 2. Other prominent members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives have also just recently announced their support for Question 2, including Rep. Alice Peisch of Wellesley, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Education, and Rep. Pat Haddad of Somerset. 

“As a former elected official, I know how difficult it can be for Democrats to withstand the political pressure from those advocating for the status quo,” said Marty Walz, a former State Representative and co-chair of the Joint Committee of Education, who now chairs the DFER Massachusetts Advisory Council. “It is important to remember that Democratic support for charter schools is not new. In fact, it was Democrats in the legislature who first laid the groundwork for charter schools to be created in Massachusetts in the 1990s and Democrats - including Governor Patrick - who lifted the cap most recently in 2010.”

Question 2, a Ballot question that will be decided this November, seeks to lift the cap on public charter schools. Currently, more than 30,000 students are on waiting lists for access to public charter schools in Massachusetts. Democrats for Education Reform is advocating for passage of the measure.