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Charter schools in Boston have made extraordinary gains, according to a new report from Stanford University. New Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser believes that some of the strategies that led to those gains can be replicated in the state's lowest-performing public school districts.

Currently, low-performing school districts can be taken over and operated as Horace Mann charter schools, meaning that teachers are still in the union, for example, but don't have the same protections as in district schools. It's a model Peyser says he'd like to expand to include other kinds of charters too.

"I would love to have the ability to use commonwealth charter schools, which are the ones that are totally free of district control—they don't have teachers in the union—I'd love to see them have the same opportunity," he said.

"At the moment we're sort of stuck in terms of the way the statute is written, but I think that's one of the things we ought to look at," he continued.

There are 34 charter schools in the city of Boston, the maximum number allowed under the current cap. 18,000 children are on the wait lists to attend those schools, which Peyser labeled a major issue for his department.

"To deny those parents and those children the opportunity to go to a great school when unfortunately too many of the options they have otherwise are not great seems to be totally wrong from a policy point of view and maybe even from a moral one," he said.

Peyser also weighed in on the introduction of the new PARCCexam, which could replace the MCAS exam as the state's standard measure of student achievement if voted on next fall by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. He said the results of this round will give the state an idea of how testing should be altered moving forward, including whether the amount of tests overall should be reduced.

"We need to have data. Teachers need to have data about how their students are doing," he said.

"I certainly want to see us pare it back as much as we can, but I don't want to sacrifice the quality of the data," he said.

To hear more from Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.