BPS warms to civics

November 30, 2007
By

DAVID TABER

Boston Public Schools (BPS) officials appear to be warming to the proposal, put forth by a coalition led by Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) youth organizers, to reinstitute upper-level civics as a graduation requirement.

BPS officials agreed to put together a pilot curriculum for 2008 after HSTF youth organizers met with Mayor Thomas Menino, BPS Superintendent Carol Johnson, members of the school committee and City Councilor Chuck Turner Nov. 15, said HSTF staffer Mark Pedulla.

“They were all very supportive of integrating civics into Boston Public Schools at the high school level,” Pedulla, who attended the meeting, said.

BPS will identify a curriculum writer to work with the youths on developing the curriculum in the coming months, he said. Next year, when the pilot program is up and running, they will look at the feasibility of implementing it system-wide.

At the Nov. 27 meeting of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, Pedulla, who is also a council member, withdrew a request for the council to draft a letter to the mayor in support of the campaign.

“I heard they knew the letter was coming and they got in line real fast,” joked council vice-president Felix G. Arroyo.

BPS officials had expressed reservations at an October public hearing on the proposal, including that adding a new curriculum requirement would mean cutting other requirements.

“We are not prepared to make any specific commitments with relation to a requirement,” BPS Chief Operating Officer James McIntyre said at the hearing.

BPS spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo could not provide the Gazette with additional information by press time.

“We are very excited about the support from the mayor and support from the school committee and the superintendent. Now it’s a matter of details and implementation,” Pedulla said.

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