Once again, Massachusetts public schools are ranked the the best in the nation. This may be surprising to many based on the constant political rhetoric that public schools in Massachusetts are a “disaster.” One of the major issues is the great gap in achievement between low-income students and their more affluent peers. For me and many others, the obvious solution to this problem is to look at what is making schools succeed in more prosperous communities and apply the same type of resources, facilities, and teacher support to schools in impoverished communities. By working to make education equitable across class and racial lines and through other programs to address poverty, we believe these gaps can be narrowed significantly. Unfortunately, this goal is undermined by the efforts of our governor, mayor, corporate philanthropic organizations and those who support them to take drastic measures to “fix” public schools and perhaps replace them outright. Worse, the proponents of this type of corporate education reform often seem to have ulterior motives at odds with the goals of creating equitable schools or alleviating poverty.
Some of the challenges to creating equitable public education in Boston and Massachusetts include:
- Annual cuts to city education budget as well as cuts to education funding statewide.
- School closures, usually in the poorest communities
- Continued emphasis on frequent testing which takes up learning time with testing and test preparation which leads to “teaching to the test” (not to mention profiting companies that publish the test and preparation materials)
- Using test results to justify “high stakes” measures such as firing teachers and closing schools
- Funneling public money into privately-run charter schools at the expense of local school districts
- The Boston Compact plan for unified enrollment which doesn’t seem to reflect any constituents’ desires for improving schools and has been funded by out-of-state interests
Thursday night the Boston Education Justice Alliance is hosting a Town Hall for parents, teaches, students and concerned citizens to discuss these issues and how we can create just and equitable public education in the city. I encourage you to attend. Here is a flyer and I’ve included links to the websites of the organizations involved:
I don’t get to write on education issues as often as I’d like to as by the time I get my thoughts together it’s usually no longer topical, but if you want to keep up with the issues I encourage you to follow the websites, blogs, and Twitter accounts of the many people and organizations below. There is an incredible amount of passion, knowledge, and creativity behind this campaign.
Boston/Massachusetts Organizations and Blogs
National Organizations and Blogs
Boston/Massachusetts People and Organizations To Follow on Twitter
@AnEducationBlog, @bledwine, @BostonActivist, @BostonEdJustice, @bmadeloni, @BPSNightmare, @BSACbuzz, @caren4btunity, @ckollett, @clanghoff1, @ClayHarper, @ColumWhyte, @CPC_BPS, @dembinskis, @DowntownSchools, @dunneteach, @Fara1, @girlact75, @GoogieBaba, @Hcinjp, @jessicatang4btu, @johnflerner, @JonathanCohn, @jshoreboston, @kathoderaytube, @KeepTheCapMass, @KrissyCabbage, @mattwbennet, @mauraotoole, @NaamaGoldstein1, @parentImperfect, @Quality1st4BPS, @RWwatchMA, @StopTheCompact, @TracyNovick,@wheresmyporsche
National People and Organizations to Follow on Twitter
@alfiekohn, @AnthonyCody, @BadassTeachersA, @Dems4PublicEd, @DianeRavitch, @Edu_Historian,@EduShyster, @ESQPolitics, @jerseyjazzman, @lacetothetop, @NEPCtweet, @StevenSinger3