Letter: School Committee should be partly elected

February 1, 2013
By

Our children in the Boston Public Schools are not failing; the Boston Public School system is failing our children. Last week, I filed a home-rule petition in an effort to change the City Charter and create three elected positions on the Boston Public School Committee. The purpose of this petition is to create some much-needed accountability and transparency on a board that, for over two decades, has been appointed by the executive branch of City government. The families of Boston need an elected, independent voice on the School Committee.

Boston is the only municipality in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that has an all-appointed School Committee, and out of 351 cities and towns ranks in the bottom tier on almost all accounts. We have a world-class city and deserve to have world-class-performing public schools throughout our city.

I and my 12 brothers and sisters (and now my own children) attended Boston Public Schools. We have all felt the effects of a school system that has underperformed since the late 1970s.

Like the School Committee, the Boston Public School assignment policy has not changed in over 20 years. The student assignment policy is now being reconsidered and the people of Boston deserve a voice as to how our new school districts will be drawn. How the School Committee votes to change the assignment policy will impact our public school system and our city for many years to come. If we have elected representation on the School Committee, the people of Boston will be able to hold these members accountable for their decisions during important debates like these.

Critics pretend that the current handpicked School Committee is neither controlled nor politically charged, and that the status quo is just fine. Our school system has operated the same way for 20 years, and by all accounts fails our children year after year. Parents all over the city are crying out for change. We should listen. The status quo is unacceptable!

Boston City Councilor Frank Baker

Dorchester

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