And we’re back. Just when I thought the debate about charter schools was tabled for the long term, it’s again taken center stage.

This time propelled by an upcoming constitutional lawsuit challenging the state cap on the number of charter schools in Boston. The suit will claim minority students, in particular, are being denied their civil rights by not having the option of charter schools. Boston has hit its limit of 34 charter schools, though there are eighty charter schools across the state.

It’s a big deal – this lawsuit. Lawyers are coming together from three usually rival law firms to fight the cap. They say they are working pro bono because they believe charter schools are a proven success. A success some Boston parents want for their children—40 thousand are on the waiting list. New players, but the same arguments that charter supporters have long touted.

Opponents quickly responded to the proposed legal challenge, reiterating their ongoing criticisms. Overall they question the stats, which support charter schools’ touted success.  They point out that a charter school/traditional public school comparison is not fair because charter schools don’t have to play by the same rules. Charters have the freedom to design their own curriculum and because they are not unionized they can hire and fire at will. Finally, opponents say more students attending charter schools will siphon off public school funding, undermine resources for traditional schools, and lead to a two-tiered system.

I’ve long been skeptical of the charter school phenomenon.  To be clear, I am very much open to new teaching methods, and impressed by innovation in the classroom. I just don’t believe such examples are exclusive to charter schools. Nor do I believe that charter schools per se are an automatic recipe for academic success. Plus, I worry that what may be effective in an individual school can’t effectively scale up. And forgive me, but I’m also suspicious of what would motivate attorneys from competing high priced law firms to band together to fight for more charter schools.

Traditional Boston public schools could benefit from the freedoms and flexibility that charter schools have. And they may soon get it. Newly appointed Boston school superintendent Tommy Chang says he plans to give schools broad latitude to adapt curriculum, hire staff, and budget monies. Chang, a former charter school principal, told the Boston Globe, “Context matters, “and “the work has to be owned by the school community.”

I want the lawsuit to fail, but if it is successful, I hope there is some careful thought and planning about how any charter school expansion happens. One thing Boston public school students and their parents don’t need is another turn in the revolving door of high expectations and promises.