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Stand Up For ALL Lawrence Students


The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is considering an application for a new charter school in Lawrence: Equity Lab Charter School.1  If recommended by Commissioner Jeff Riley and approved by BESE members at their Feb. 2019 meeting, the school would open in fall 2019 and eventually enroll 640 students in grades 5-12.

We urge parents, students, educators, and community stakeholders to join us in opposing the approval of Equity Lab:

  • The Lawrence Public Schools (LPS) cannot afford another charter school. The state already underfunds LPS by $49 million, according to one estimate.2  Worsening that deficit is the fact that LPS already pays out more than $21 million every year in tuition to charter schools. If Equity Lab is approved, an additional $8 million annually would be diverted from the LPS budget, cutting further into the academic programs, enrichment activities, and social services our students need and deserve. The state needs to fully fund our public schools before approving any new charters.
  • Lawrence residents do not want more charter schools. In 2016, Lawrence residents joined the rest of the state in overwhelmingly rejecting Question 2, the ballot initiative to expand charter schools. An appointed state Board should not approve more charter schools in Lawrence against the will of the community.
  • The state should focus on solutions that help all students, not a select few. At best, charter schools help a small number of students while historically falling short in serving the highest-needs students. Through receivership, the state already has the authority to foster educational improvements and equity within LPS. To the extent that there are good ideas in the Equity Lab application, why can’t the state extend those ideas to all LPS students? Why give opportunities to some at the expense of others?

Make Your Voice Heard and Save the Date

Public Hearing in Lawrence on December 5, 2018 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is hosting a public hearing on Equity Lab. Your voice matters—testify or just come to show your support for LPS:

Sargent Auditorium, Lawrence Public Library
51 Lawrence St., Lawrence MA
Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 4 to 6 p.m.

  • You may also submit written comments to DESE about the proposed Equity Lab application through December 21, 2018, to:
  • If you’re interested in attending the hearing, testifying, or otherwise getting involved, contact Jeremy Shenk of AFT MA at for more information.

  1. The full application is available at
  2. See Model 4 in Building an Education System That Works for Everyone: Funding Reforms to Help All Our Children Thrive, available at

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