Good evening, Mr. Chair.
My name is Tracy O’Connell Novick; I live at 135 Olean Street; I am a member of the Worcester School Committee, which is what brings me alongside my colleague and our educators before you today.
I am here to address item 13A, your resolution that the Council go on record opposing the creation of the Worcester Cultural Academy Charter School. I would ask that the Council stand united with the Worcester School Committee in opposing this threat to publicly funded and publicly accountable education in the city of Worcester.
As the Council is aware, it was only last year that the long-awaited, long-fought for reform of public education funding finally came to the Worcester Public Schools. You, Mr. Chair, alongside the Council and School Committee, were prepared to sue the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on behalf of the schoolchildren of the city of Worcester to address this unconstitutional inequity. Due to united action by our delegation working with unanimous votes in the both chambers of the state legislature, that was not necessary.
But we are only two years in on a six year implementation of that funding reform. There is much work to be done, and many, many needs still to be met. While this is crucial work is led by Dr. Monárrez, to at this time,when we finally stand on just below the summit towards which we have worked, have that sucked away by a poorly designed proposal that will not meet the needs of Worcester students is infuriating and unfair to our students, as well as to all those who fought on their behalf.
It is important to note, Mr. Chair, that as the city of Worcester moves forward together under the leadership of City Manager Batista, who rightfully cites diversity, equity, and inclusion as among the focuses of his leadership, that charter schools nationally have been demonstrated to increase school segregation. The proposal put forward demonstrates no track record and poor understanding of the needs of the multilingual, multicultural, lively rich array of families that we in the Worcester Public Schools are proud to serve.
I would ask that you not only unanimously pass this resolution tonight, but that you, Councilors, and Worcester residents join the Worcester School Committee, Worcester Public Schools administration, and the Educational Association of Worcester in testifying on Friday at 4 pm in the Herbert Auditorium at Quinsigamond Community College in opposition to this proposal.
To say nothing at this time is to fail our school system.