To the Editor: We BPS parents strongly back an elected School Committee

To the Editor:

As parents of Boston Public Schools students and Dorchester community members, we strongly disagree with the recent commentary in the Dorchester Reporter by Bill Walczak and Meg Campbell (“Commentary: Let’s place our schools directly under the mayor”) that advocates for full mayoral control of the city’s public schools.

The reform that the authors suggest is simply support for the status quo in disguise. While any school committee structure has its disadvantages, we know from our experiences that mayoral control of the schools has been detrimental for our students, parents and caregivers, and teachers in this city. It has led to a lack of transparency and accountability from both the school committee and the mayor (who currently wields the ultimate decision-making power).

It is an elected school committee that is most likely to offer the bold ideas that are needed for our schools to be more aligned with the interests of Boston’s students and families. Moreover, the lack of an elected school committee is an equity issue; if the other 350 municipalities in Massachusetts have elected school committees, Boston should be no different. This is especially troubling as Boston is a city where a majority of residents are people of color and its school district is more racially and economically diverse than others across the state.

The authors’ pessimism about our schools, as well as their lack of trust in the voters of Boston, is alarming. The “cumbersome and complicated” decision-making process they allude to is, frankly, a desperately needed set of checks and balances. An elected school committee is not a “vestigial organ whose time has passed,” but, rather, a panel of citizen overseers of our public schools that is absolutely necessary.

Boston voters elected their first school committee in 1789, a right that was sadly taken away in 1991. Now is the time to respect the will of Boston’s voters (79 percent support in last year’s balloting) and return to an elected school committee.

This letter was signed by Dr. Christopher Martell, Dr. Erin Hashimoto, Gloria West, Dr. Kim Parker, Eve Goldberg, Dr. Christopher Fung, Bridget Colvin, Melissa Curran, Corry Banton, Mary Moran, Maggie Mancuso, Michael Mancuso, Elizabeth Anderson, Brian Ruka, Rachelle Milord, and Deb Shea.

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