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How Would You Fix School Choice in Boston?

Boston Public Schools will release five alternative plans for school choice. What would you like to see the school system do to improve school assignments for kids?

Boston Public Schools will host a meeting 6 p.m. Monday night to announce five alternative school choice plans. The five alternatives were designed to improve local school access while preserving a parent's ability to choose the best school for their child, according to Superintendent Carol Johnson. Johnson made her remarks to WBUR.

The schools have been mum on the details of the plan, preferring to present them Monday night at the Lilla Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester. From there, the department plans more public meetings to present and vet the alternatives, which will also be examined by an advisory committee appointed by Mayor Thomas Menino, according to boston.com.

What do you think? What kind of changes should the school system make to the school choice program? Would you scratch the plans altogether and revert to neighborhood schools? What about the flexibility for parents to pick the right place for their kid? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Toonie September 28, 2012 at 02:45 PM
You said a lot without coming out and just saying what you mean. So, I'll go ahead and make some assumptions. First, by "economic shift", I am going to go ahead and assume that you mean "more affluent". With that said, why do you think Warren Prescott has improved during this economic shift? Are you saying affluent kids are better students and only affluent parents get involved with the schools to help them improve? I don't think it's what you meant to say, but it certainly sounds that way. Bottom line is that a good school starts at HOME. Any parent, "rich" or "poor" can get involved with the school, push the kids at home and set good examples for their kids and have a positive impact on their local school. Busing kids all over the city just seems like a lazy way to go about making sure that parent's who actually care, get their kid in a good school. With that said, perhaps those that are near underperforming schools could get involved with the school, push the kids at home and help to turn these schools around. It just takes a lot of hard work and focus from the parents. Or move! That's what the rest of the country does and it is by no means telling them to "suck it" as you so eloquently put. I'll say again, it al starts at home - "rich" or "poor".
Toonie September 28, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Googie - agreed! My post above was in response to Jay - FYI.
Googie Baba September 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Thanks Toonie. I was thinking to myself, "I thought I said exactly what I meant." But you never know.
Joseph September 28, 2012 at 04:01 PM
^ Toonie gets it
Jay K. September 29, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Yes, Toonie. You have it correct. The only thing I would say slightly differently is that the children of affluent parents tend to be better students, not that they are inherently. This is well known and is because of precisely what you say - a good school starts at home. Affluence strongly correlates with education. People who value education tend to be more wealthy. People who don't value education tend to have less money. But there are many, many people who value education and don't have a lot of money. And they may not have the time, energy, or the knowledge to act in a positive way for their child's education. If all of these children are clustered together in one school - they are disadvantaged relative to the children of the better off. Telling people that all they need to do is "work hard and focus" on their child's education is not a solution. It's an explanation. And it may only explain to them why their neighbors' kids aren't doing so well. And telling people to move (which is expensive in so many ways) instead of providing a working education system is tantamount to telling them to "suck it", as I so eloquently stated. This is not only how public officials get fired, but how anyone with a job gets fired. But again - I don't favor busing kids all over the place. I think we can satisfy both the proximity argument and the diversity argument without it.

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