Thursday, June 11, 2009

One parent's take on the disfunctional Boston Public Schools

I was on Mike Ball's Left Ahead blog and podcast the other day, which led to a further discussion about schools. Those who are involved in the schools as in other activities involving Boston government know that the system is about who you know, which is a form of corruption: not providing fair and honest service to all the citizens. This is why transparency, honesty and openness are so crucial. The citizens need to trust that they are getting a fair shake, they don't get it from the current elected officials in City Hall.

With Mike's permission I post what he went through as a parent:

Kevin, I have many school tales. We have an adult son, an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old. The first two graduated from BLS and the third is in BLA.

The tales relate more to playing the various bureaucratic games to get them in good schools. We have been under numerous superintendents, as well as several very different assignment schemes. With the first son, we literally had to move twice to ensure he got in the right elementary (Quincy) and middle (Timilty) schools.

We researched the various options for all three. My wife volunteered in the various schools. We were every involved parents. Yet, at every stage, Court Street seemed to delight in hindering us. We'd call about things as simple as assignment choice dates and everyone who answered, when we were finally able to get someone, gave us a different date and details. It was worse when they'd assign the wrong buses after we moved to JP 20 years ago. We were unsure which was worse, the arrogance or incompetence. We also knew that parents connected with the assignment people got whatever they wanted.

We ended up with mixtures of schools as a result. For one son, the right kindergarten answer was Haley, but the elementary there was a flop then. So, it was Curley with one and then Hennigan with another. They both ended up at the Irving, which was our only choice then with advanced work. Even though the middle school was poor quality and even dangerous, the sub-school with the adanced work was just fine.

Honestly, parents should not have to go through what we did to get their kids a decent public education. Our boys got what they needed from BPS, but only through our efforts.

Sorry for that, but I can rant on schools at length.



1 comment:

Quriltai said...

A quick's tough to read about questions on education in Boston with a typo burned into the title of a post.

you're looking to talk about "dysfunctional" public schools.