BOSTON PARENT GROUP QUESTIONS RENEWING BOSTON COMPACT AND PURSUING A UNIFIED LOTTERY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 17th, 2015
Contacts: Mary Battenfeld, firstname.lastname@example.org, (857)719-3670
Megan Wolf, email@example.com, (617)435-5011
Quality Education for Every Student (QUEST), a grassroots organization of Boston Public School parents with children who have attended over 30 Boston Public Schools, voiced concern about the Mayor’s plan to expand the Boston Compact agreement between charter, parochial, and Boston Public schools. QUEST has particular concerns with a proposal to drastically alter enrollment policies.
QUEST parents say the plan’s expansion of enrollment to include non-district charter schools will have a negative impact on Boston’s students. “Unlike charters, BPS educates English Language Learners of all levels and children with a wide range of special needs, and takes students mid-year and in any grade. Where is the partnership here?” said Karen Oil, BPS parent and QUEST member. QUEST also pointed out that BPS has lost tens of millions of dollars to charter schools who receive 49% of Chapter 70 funds, though serving only 12% of Boston students, and criticized the lack of charter school accountability to the communities and families they serve, especially in regards to high suspension rates and low graduation rates of boys of color.
QUEST urges Mayor Walsh and other city leaders to take action in the following areas before expanding an agreement with non-district schools:
(1) Racial and economic impact assessment of recently adopted school assignment plan, which was arrived at through two years of community process, before any changes are made.
(2) Adequate and equitable funding for Boston Public Schools, including reimbursement for funds lost to charter schools.
(3) Transparent data collection from charter schools that go beyond test scores in order to evaluate the quality of schools.
(4) Compliance with progressive discipline strategies, as mandated by the State; diversity in hiring practices, and parental participation in governance of schools.
(5) Policy change that would require charters to fill empty seats at all times of year and for all grades like public districts are required to do.
QUEST points out that the Compact, adopted in 2011, has shown little benefit for the vast majority of Boston’s students and believes that expanding a multi-district education system with little transparency or accountability will increase inequitable options for the city’s students, especially those with the greatest needs.