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Has Massachusetts' Charter School Experiment Paid Off?06:45
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In this April 2017 photo, sixth grade students from the Boston Collegiate Charter School work on math problems during class. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
In this April 2017 photo, sixth grade students from the Boston Collegiate Charter School work on math problems during class. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
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The state's charter schools experiment was created under the Education Reform Act of 1993. These independent public schools operate under charters approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. They're funded by local districts and the state.

Charter schools were meant to be engines of education innovation, with more freedom to organize around a core mission and curriculum. They are meant also to provide parents with more choices for their children's education, and close achievement gaps. But they're also deeply controversial.

There is a lot of tension between charter and district schools in Massachusetts. In 2016, ballot box Question 2 asked whether to lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts. It was the most expensive ballot question campaign in state history, with both sides spending more than $40 million, and it mirrored the bitter national debate over charters.

This segment aired on June 20, 2018.

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