Thursday, December 18, 2008

A take on busing from a business associate of mine

Some excellent thoughts here. Those who followed my campaign 3 years ago know that I proposed offering low cost housing loans for teachers to attract them to stay in Boston. I'm a big advocate of rewarding our teachers, not just fiscally either.

i don't think busing is necessarily a bad thing but it is such an imperfect solution. the problem i see is that people have now taken busing as THE solution rather than the stop gap measure it is. everyone rather goes to the neighborhood school. some of these kids have to wake up at 5 am just to get ready for their ride to another school district. and they are expected to perform at same level with all that added onus and pressure?

the main problem is finding good teachers willing to teach in urban cores. its not $/student. it is not facility even. quality of teacher is the number one factor. to attract them i think quality housing goes a long way. this leads to bigger issue of providing affordable workforce housing for teachers and other public employees. so a lot of these issues are inter-related.

vancouver has an interesting project in some of its down and out areas. the city funds affordable housing aimed at accommodating we are talking 3 BR condos and can actually raise a family there. by attracting familes you have more involved parents in the schools and they have found that quality goes up. And because it's affordable housing, you are not displacing existing families either. I think something like this layered with workforce housing sets the foundation. just throwing money at schools without providing a strong community around it does not work. but i wouldn't throw out busing per se. people fought hard for that because it was only solution and still often is. the goal is to move the urban schools to the point where busing is no longer needed.

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