Massachusetts Mojo

Arne Duncan once tried out for the Boston Celtics. Didn’t make it. But he’s got a chance to sink a clutch shut for us Bostonians. Let me explain. Two pro-charter guys—Sac mayor Kevin Johnson, Motown mayor Dave Bing—were shoot-first, 6′ NBA point guards. You need a certain fearless vibe to do that. Most NBA points are pass-first. Turn on your TV: Fisher, Rondo, Skip, Kidd.  Because if you don’t pass to the 7 foot guys, they get mad. And they’re, you know, 7 footers.  

“Call Me Arne” wasn’t a glamour guy on the court. His game was rebounds, picks, hustle, self-deprecation. Guys like that are always beloved on the team.  

At some point, Arne has to decide if he’ll be the shoot-first point guard, which will get teammates (Democratic Governors) mad at him/his boss.

From today’s Boston Globe“With your charter cap, we can’t expand in cities like Boston,” said KIPP CEO Richard Barth.  “Based on my experience today, if the state were to lift the cap, I have to believe Boston would have to be our top choice for our next city.”

If the Secretary is serious about his (awesome) April 15 warning—that states with charter caps are going to get locked out of $300 million-ish chunks of Race To the Top $ (which will almost all flow to districts), and that is made explicit to policymakers—then I’m convinced Massachusetts will lift the cap. Would you really throw away $300 million to improve your school districts, just to throw a bone to the unions? And if that happens, you’ll see some terrific local schools, along with some CMOs, help a few thousand more kids become college-ready.  

However, a number of MA anti-charter folks believe the Administration will cave on the “stimulus for charter cap lift” quid pro quo. They expect to win the giant competitive state grants with charter-variation stuff INSTEAD of charter growth (rather than in ADDITION to charter growth, as it should be).  

We shall see. Can Duncan channel his inner KJ?

—Guestblogger Mike Goldstein  

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