Reading Between the Lines
Imagine you are on the State Board of Education. You are facing a controversial vote. Should you vote to allow three new charter schools or not? The teachers' union and some parents are quite vocal about their disapproval. Sure, the union may be afraid of some much needed competition. On the other hand, the parents have a point that the charter schools will indeed siphon off some funding from the existing public schools. You are not sure if this will be balanced by their serving less students or not. You are really agonizing over this decision.

Then you receive letters from students at the public schools that would face competition. They ask you to vote against the charter schools. You suspect the students were prompted to write these letters by their teachers, but that does not matter to you. The content of the letters themselves made the decision obvious.

Board of Education member Roberta Schaefer... ...ridiculed the letters against a proposed school in Marlboro for their missing punctuation and sloppy spelling - including a misspelling of the word "school" in one missive.

...these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts,'' Schaefer said.

The Board approved the new charter schools by a 5 to 1 margin.

My sources for this story were The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

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