For the past few months, the Parent Imperfect has been going to meetings of a group of parents concerned about the plans of the Boston Public Schools to change the district’s Student Assignment Policy. The group is mostly made up of mothers from Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, but is slowly involving people from other parts of the city, and even a few fathers. Just recently the group decided to take a name, which makes it a little easier to talk about it. It’s now QUEST (Quality Education for Every Student). Catchy, huh?
QUEST agrees that the current system is a mess, but insists that it must be changed in a way that promotes Quality Education for EVERY Student. This is a hard dream to disagree with, and the BPS certainly talks as if they are with the program. So far, however, the BPS hasn’t exactly jumped on the QUEST bandwagon. Why is that? QUEST fears that equal access isn’t always the most important thing for the BPS.
Using data provided by the district, the recent study published by QUESTer, Meira Levinson shows clearly that under the current system, students in some neighborhoods have much more access to quality schools than those in other neighborhoods. It then analyzes each of the assignment options being put forward by the BPS and finds that each one of those actually makes a bad situation WORSE. QUEST believes that it ought to be possible to change the assignment system in a way that makes access to quality education MORE rather than LESS equal across the city. This is possible, but only if we make equal access to quality education a priority. The current plans are more focused on the goal of getting kids in schools closer to their homes.
The Mayor has vowed that he’ll announce a new assignment process that has “more children going to school close to home” in his State of the City 2013 speech in January. The BPS is, therefore, rushing to judgement on a series of plans that are all bad. There is nothing the matter If you agree with QUEST that Boston’s school children deserve better, then sign QUEST’s petition asking the BPS to slow down and take a more careful look at the options. In signing the petition, you’ll be sending a message to Superintendent of Schools, Carol Johnson, Mayor Tom Menino and other important decision makers on this issue. Join the QUEST!