I started off the night at the Ashmont/Adams neighborhood group in Dorchester giving my stump speech to those energetic, thoughtful and engaged people. Then I ran off to my birth neighborhood of Allston/Brighton for their monthly meeting. They gave me a few minutes at the end of their meeting just to introduce myself, and I talked about how schools and transparency are my two biggest issues.
I talked about how only 1 in 8 high school freshmen in Boston Public Schools ever gets a college degree and how only 56% of our high school students earn a diploma. I talked about how I promise to spend at least one day a week in the schools, and to meet with the parents, students and teachers in every one of our schools during my first term.
A nice young man from the Mayor's office stood up to talk about how "proud" the Mayor is of the Boston Public Schools, and how the Mayor is "probably" in the schools every week. I responded and said that is the difference between the Mayor and I, he finds them acceptable and something to be proud of and I find that they need a lot more attention and improvement, and I said that I didn't want to get into a debate with him in this forum.
The president of the association interjected and agreed and said that we should invite the Mayor, and Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon to have a debate. The young man then jumped up to say that the Mayor was too busy with City business to engage in debates. This was not received well by the audience.
Score one for those of us who believe that an open, honest, respectful conversation about our goals and priorities is good for democracy.
The neighborhood groups who have concerns about their communities should start holding debates, as this Globe editorial says today.
In other news, I was impaneled on a jury today for a criminal trial, and have to go back to court tomorrow where I will hopefully come to a verdict with my other jurists. At least they are all Boston residents!