Tuesday, May 24, 2022

May Board of Ed: The Boston one (opening and public comment)

 The agenda is here. Livestream will be here. Looks like public comment might be something:

 I should note that this meeting originally was scheduled, as is usual, for Wellesley High School, as the May meeting is hosted by the district of the student member. Yesterday morning, it was moved to Boston, to a room in one of the state buildings that lacks capacity for anything like the crowd expected.

Craven notes that Wellesley asked that the meeting be relocated, notes that there are people outside the room.
Mayor Michelle Wu
ran on a promise to deliver on "bold urgent change"
"am fiercely committed to that work"
In schools every single week seeing what is in the report
"step into our potential as birthplace of public education"
"the truth is none of this is new" to anyone in school communities
have worked quickly in first six months
first round interviews with search committee for next superintendent are next week
restructuring all of city government: Green New Deal for BPS
college and innovation pathways programs across the district
expanding preK
three year contract on food (local)
reached a tentative agreement with Boston school bus drivers (hey!)
"receivership would be counterproductive"
if the Commissioner puts forward such a request, will be requesting a hearing due process
met with Commissioner and Governor on Friday, will be coming back with what an agreement could look like
Craven: appreciate your working with Commissioner Riley "on what could be a great outcome"

Senator Chang-Diaz, who notes her history as Senate chair of education and a BPS parent
keep working with Boston rather than erode local democracy and parent voice
"receivership is no certain path to turnaround"
new leadership in mayor and coming superintendent; "they deserve a chance at bat"
"the parents and guardians of Boston's children" gave a mandate to the mayor to take on this responsibility
lessons of Southbridge, Lawrence, and Holyoke

Senator Lydia Edwards: "have seen extremes in BPS...can absolutely can rise to the occasion"
"what receivership would do is give up on Boston"
"worst message is that Boston can't handle its own education system"
"not only oppose it, but I think it's one of the worst things you can do"
new leadership at state: "I don't know if that's the elephant in the room, but there's a new governor coming, too"
"you have united us in such a level of opposition...and I'm excited to be part of that opposition"

Rep. Liz Miranda: proud BPS graduate
state opposition to receivership; have visited all 17 schools in district
"every one of my schools as a distinct culture and set of needs"
by DESE's own standards, state receivership hasn't been successful
systemwide strategy to equitable literacy, expanded language
notes that school receivership cut language access
strides in hires of people of color
"I want to note that no district has ever exited receivership"
got report at noon and haven't yet finished it
"if we truly want to support our BPS family, I do not believe DESE is the answer"

Boston City Council president Ed Flynn
here to testify against the receivership of the Boston Public Schools
"need to give this new time an opportunity to lead"
must work together to be sure every student receives an education, must support BPS family as well

Boston City Councilor at large Michael Flaherty
many communities feel that receivership is done to them
"Boston's greatest success stories are the result of partnerships"
asking for strengthened partnerships
"not about our teachers, not about our students...this has everything to do with a bureaucratic center office"
I don't think he read the report

Boston City Councilor Erin Murphy
"today is hard for everyone...it wasn't easy to get through..."
"stand on the side of children"
"we are a rich school system and we need to do better"

BPS parent who is speaking in Arabic
"the interpreter has disconnected"
Leila Parks: has been teaching in MA in 12 years
state receivership at UP Holland did not help
"families had no say in the direction of the new school"
hundreds of suspensions in the first year
decisions made by the state and the receiver, not by the people who trust the school every day
those in the school would have had a long list of what they needed, none of which was what the state provided
students need things like glasses and toothbrushes and social emotional supports
"invest in deleading their pipes, hiring more special education teachers...each school community knows what they need. Please just ask."

Robert Baroz: turnaround strategies "remain elusive"
Lawrence got an uptick "which often is going to happen when you invest in test taking strategies"
runs comparisons of Boston and Lawrence currently: "why would you want to use the strategies that Lawrence has?"
DESE doesn't require any teacher to take training in writing
ask: invest in instruction and teachers; give teachers the money direct; rehire literacy coaches; reconsider in how you're approaching this problem
"do it with teachers, not to them"

mother who will start in English then speak in Spanish, being given time by teacher
was a student of BPS, first came to US in 2011
daughter in first grade in the Blackstone
BPS gave all information needed to learn English
"BPS is not perfect, but if you give us what we are asking you do it, we can do it"
we won't allow the same thing to happen that happened in Lawrence
"the state did not have the capacity to sustain the control of those schools"
went to a meeting with DESE and asked questions about what concerned us
DESE didn't have the control to guide those families; how can we think they're going to take control of our schools?

Matthew Ruggiero, teacher at Charlestown High
"can't help but wonder what DESE could learn from Boston in terms of interpretation and multilingual supports?"
authentic supports and not top down
support by 80 scholars who have studied receivership
thousands of letters from Boston
"as stakeholders in Boston, we know better than anyone the issues that BPS faces"
"we see this over and over again in schools and districts that have been placed in receivership: it has not worked, and it makes things worse for students"
state involvement has exacerbated instability 
"fighting to make our district more responsive to our students, not less"

Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara
graduate and parent
after reading, "I sat back and reminded myself that our schools are not only imperfect now, but they have been for a long time"
"the state has been decades in the making"
"why now..."
"three women of color leading the charge in Boston Public Schools and say that now is the time to consider state takeover of the Boston Public Schools?"
"the people of the city of Boston have already spoken: they want resources, not receivership"
"racist, undemocratic model...you need to look no further than who is coming to you to support it"
DESE has shown that it has no standing to takeover the BPS
"honor the democratic process"

Mary Tamer, DFER..which I really don't know how to summarize
"receivership creates the condition" for change (it does)
"with or without state receivership, Boston families deserve..."

Two students
Josiehanna Colon, Boston Student Advisory Council: I apologize if I come off as angry
angry that my cousins may face consequences of state receivership
angry when test scores are substituted for learning
difference when focus on reading that is representative
Boston is increasing in representation; now receivership is considered
"say that 'we should and we could' but we know the state will not hold through"
has shown to destabilize learning community...and done nothing to improve the schools"

Former Board of Ed member (former Vice chair) Harneen Chernow, BPS parent, including when Lawrence was voted in receivership
"with few or no other options, voted in favor of state takeover"
(both the superintendent and the mayor went to jail)
"the stakes here are high, especially when you consider that Lawrence was preceded by decades"
"no clear path out of receivership"
Only two schools have made it out of underperforming
receivership has moved schools and districts in the opposite direction
higher turnover, less experience, fewer diverse teachers
how students fare under takeover
"it is not lost to the public that it is mostly Black, brown, and low income students in schools deemed underperforming across the state"
Boston is "seeking to restore voting rights" which we see as the path forward
"the lack of sustained successful outcomes"
have had two decades of lack of successful outcomes

Former Board of Ed chair Margaret McKenna: DESE has shown little ability to sustain these
Quotes Peyser on lack of sustainablity of turnaround
"This is a huge bite"
"it's not a state; the state names a person...the person arrives from somewhere...and where you are going to find that person...and why is Jeff Riley better than the search committe in Boston?"
has a hard time finding leadership and keeping them
leadership teams to do reflect the diversity of the populations of the students
really concerned that the receiver reports to Commissioner not the Board
remember that the Holland suspended 40% of kindergartners; asked what they were going to do, they said hire more social workers
"do you have any understanding of education at all"
MOU was announced the day before the schools closed
"to say that this is a fair sort of analysis of a normal time" is not
that Boston can do anything and produce anything is amazing
report shows progress made by current superintendent
if anyone is responsible for lack of progress in English learners, "it's the state"
for fifteen years, we were an English only state
For years we didn't produce multilingual teachers
biggest reason for the achievement gap
said when I was here that DESE should take the lead in reversing English only "but I was told that was not DESE's role"

Danielle Miller, parent
notes how difficult it was to sign up to speak today
Frustrating and alarming to review state over time
reports that focus on "resources and race"
the two BPS schools that the state holds in receivership have high staff turnover, have very poor reputations who live in the neighborhood
"the central question in my mind is why is DESE considering receivership when other districts fare worst and the state has failed to demonstrate" that it can make a difference
"who stands to benefit?"
"power has to stay with the people if we are going have sustainable" change in the Boston Public Schools

Edith Bazile, Black Advocates for Educational Excellence
who is speaking at higher rates of students of color being put substantially subseparate
(where did that $100K come from?)
BPS must develop an aligned comprehensive plan that fosters healthy school cultures
dismantling anti-Black policies

City Councilor Gabriela Coletta asks to see the data that receivership has been successful
should be an opportunity for this leadership (that Boston has chosen)
allow democratic process
"we understand the assignment"


Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune
state takeovers have focused on Black and Latinx districts
accordingly to state's own report, BPS has made real progress over time
our students who come to the table with different languages should be treated as a asset
Receivership districts have about twice the teacher turnover of BPS
"if the state wants to be anti-racist, the first step is to show some respect to communities of color"
our schools need stable leadership, consistent policymakers
receivership is undemocratic

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