Final school choice plan will draw on 'best ideas from various proposals'

Our city is deep in conversation on efforts to create a new school assignment system. As many parents know and as we have heard loud and clear today’s system is too complicated, frustrating, and unpredictable for too many of our families. My goal is to create a new student assignment system that is fair, follows the laws of common sense, and prioritizes placing students in quality schools that are closer to their homes.

Much hard work remains, but today I am proud to tell you that we have made significant progress toward achieving that goal.  Read more

Parents air concerns about choice plans at Mattapan meeting

Tayla Holman, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 11, 2012

A small crowd was on hand Tuesday evening at the Mildred Avenue School in Mattapan as Boston public schools officials held the fifth in a series of community meetings focused on proposed changes to the city’s school assignment process.

The school department is looking to shift away from the current three-zone model, which has been in place since 1988. Although more seats have been opened up in high-performing schools, and graduation rates have increased while dropout rates have decreased, officials say there was still more to do to close the education gap.  Read more

Coalition offers new assignment plan; moves away from zones

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Oct. 3, 2012

Councillor John Connolly spoke at a State House press conference this morning. At right, lawmakers Rep. Ed Coppinger, Rep. Russell Holmes and Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry. Photo by Mike Deehan/SHNS

(Updated, Oct. 3, 3:15p.m.) — Future Boston public school students will have the option of going to one of the four schools closest to where they live while current students would be grandfathered to where they attend classes under the existing student assignment process under a plan released this week by City Councillor At-Large John Connolly and five fellow elected officials.  Read more

Seeking more reform for Boston schools not an 'extreme' position

To the Editor:

I am an extremist. In a September 20 opinion piece in the Dorchester Reporter ("City gets reform"), Mayor Menino defended the reforms in the recently settled agreement between the City and the Boston Teachers Union, but stated that "the extremes will say the contract doesn't give us much...." The agreement does provide reforms above what was in the previous contract, but it is incremental change at a time when the school system needed a giant leap forward.  Read more

City’s parents get concrete proposals that would revamp school assignments

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Sep. 26, 2012

Deputy Superintendent Michael Goar, right, and BPS Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson spoke during Monday evening's meeting at the Frederick Middle School. Photo by Chris Lovett

Parents, take your pick. Boston School Department officials this week outlined five proposals that would move the city away from a three-zone set-up for assigning students to schools beginning with the 2014-2015 school year at the earliest.

The proposals, which were introduced Monday night at the Frederick Pilot Middle School and will be aired at a series of public meetings beginning with one Thursday at 7 o’clock at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School on Washington Street near Grove Hall, aim to send elementary and middle school students to classrooms closer to home instead of scattering children living on the same street across the city to various schools.

Related commentary: Towards a 'common-sense' system for school choice, by Mayor Thomas Menino  Read more

Mayor: Towards a ‘common-sense’ model for school choice

In January I made a promise to our city’s parents and children. Our families would like a school choice system that passes the common-sense test. Today’s system does not.

In the Bowdoin/Geneva area of Dorchester, where families speak 15 different languages and one in four falls below the poverty line, 2,000 students attend 100 different schools. Something similar could be said in East Boston, in Jamaica Plain, in Allston and in Dorchester. We cannot build a stronger community when we split ourselves apart every morning.  Read more

Superintendent's remarks at school assignment meeting

Remarks to the External Advisory Committee on School Choice
Superintendent Carol R. Johnson
Monday, September 24, 2012

Let me begin by acknowledging Mayor Menino and the tremendous team efforts that have gone into this report; the community feedback and the broad process that culminates tonight with this presentation.  Read more

School assignment options get airing at meeting tonight

Boston Public Schools officials plan to roll out several proposals to refit the school assignment policy on Monday by presenting options to a mayorally appointed advisory committee at the Frederick Pilot Middle School on Columbia Road at 6 p.m.

“They’re going to lay out three or four plans, I believe, that will be discussed,” Mayor Thomas Menino told the Reporter this week. “And after they get back the feedback on that and maybe some adjustments, they’ll go to a plan that the school committee will eventually approve.”  Read more

Connolly: A missed opportunity to close the gap in Boston Schools

Two transformative opportunities for the Boston Public Schools hung in the balance as students began the new school year. First, students desperately needed a longer school day and a system that kept good teachers in the classroom. Unfortunately, this opportunity came and went, as the Boston Public Schools’ leadership and the Boston Teachers Union agreed to a status quo teachers contract.  Read more

Teachers, city reach accord in contract dispute

Reporter Staff
Sep. 12, 2012

Mayor Menino discussed a deal with Boston teachers in a press conference this morning at City Hall. Photo courtesy Mayor's office

After more than two years of on-again, off-again negotiations, a tentative agreement between Boston teachers union leaders and the city of Boston was reached on Wednesday morning. The new six-year contract, if approved, will raise teachers’ salaries only if they meet certain performance thresholds based on student test scores.  Read more