There is a hunger for these schools

Last month I had the honor, and the anguish, of drawing names from a
stuffed box of applicants for 75 coveted freshman spots at the MATCH
Charter Public High School
in Boston. MATCH, along with a number of
other area charter schools, consistently ranks among the best public
schools in the nation for helping disadvantaged students attend, and
succeed in, college.

were too many applicants – 660 – for admission. Nearly all were from
Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park. It was standing-room only
at the school for the anxious parents. I held their children's fate in
my hands, literally. When a name was read, there were hoots, hollers,
and hugs of joy. But after the last name was read, it was a different
story. "Unlucky" doesn't begin to capture the devastated look in the
eyes of the remaining parents. It tore my heart out. Their grace and
dignity in accepting the bad news made it even more difficult.

we all share the urgency of those parents? As a country, can we rally
behind the new president's call for more charter schools? This, of
course, means lifting arbitrary caps and restrictions found in some states.

President Obama
invoked Massachusetts as a role model for education. That is
gratifying. Yet with thousands of inner-city students denied a chance
to obtain the kind of education that suburbanites take for granted, are
we living up to the president's praise? If not, shouldn't we?