Editors of the Banner:
I read with great interest your story on “Menino reaches out to Dudley Square residents”. The Mayor has done much good in Dudley Square and the larger Roxbury community during his tenure. His vision to select a well respected community oriented law enforcement practitioner in Commissioner Davis is testament to his commitment to the communities of Boston that struggle with effective crime prevention.
However, we all ought to pause and reflect on the Mayors statement that “We’re going to the people, instead of the people coming to us” to help solve public safety issues. We’re all for reaching out to constituents for guidance, but in an election year how much of this is political posturing?
In the past, we’ve come to Mayor Menino and others to petition for better quality public schools because quality or lack of it has significant bearing on the crime we experience on our streets.
The issue of school quality has been with us for a while. From the ruins of Urban Renewal that leveled the Boardman school in Roxbury and saw the rise of METCO in the sixties, to bussing in the seventies, lawsuits at exam schools in the nineties, and a steady adoption of charter schools today, the citizens of Boston have been “bringing it” to our elected officials when it comes to education, Mayor Menino included.
Yet, after more than forty years of engagement, the Boston Public Schools system still cannot lay claim to being one corporation, where regardless of which school our kids attend, parity exists in the education they receive.
It’s frustrating that we continue to miss the connection between laying a solid educational foundation and improved public safety and quality of life on our streets.
It goes without saying that city services to keep the lights on and streets clean will help deter crime and is a small thing worth paying attention to. However, police commissioner Davis’ comment that “we pay attention to the small things, and the big things will take care of themselves” is troubling because no city service we provide will pay more dividends in dealing with issues of crime than the service we provide in the classroom. Education is a big thing that will not take care of itself, no matter how much we focus on the small things that also require attention.