This is the moment, a second chance for change in a short time, for foundering Boston Public Schools, according to John Connolly. He joined came on today to talk about the Quality Choice Plan.
The first chance was what he called “a swing and a miss,” that brought a pretty reactionary teachers-union contract.
That new plan is either a sweeping vision for much needed reform or a renegade assault on business as usual replete with incremental efforts at the edges. He and the Globe and I among many others think of it as the former. He and I share a devotion to public education, including putting our kids in BPS. No one I know of matches his passion for the schools, fitting as he has chaired the City Council’s Education Committee for over three years.
He’s the point man for this plan, which he fine tuned with another Councilor (Matt O’Malley) and four MA Reps (Linda Dorcena Forry, Nick Collins, Ed Coppinger, and Russell Holmes). As he has in Council, he doesn’t mind taking any heat, sharing any plaudits, and meeting with everyone who can and wants to make big improvements.
Listen in as we describe the plan’s big ideas. Do check the link up top for the 10-page plan. It is unlike the typical timid proposals for upgrading urban school systems. He does touch on such high points as 16 citywide schools with dual-language and other concentrations, guaranteed K2 seats on one of the four schools closest to home, annual teacher and principal evaluations, and most of all, a strong push for innovation status schools. Those would follow the model of the successful turnarounds like the Trotter. John describes the components.
Of course, the talks about some of the pending conflicts. When I attended the press conference announcing the plan, he alluded to such essentials as longer school days â€” an anathema to the local teachers’ union, which just set a four-year contract. We didn’t really get into another broad area, the not-invented-here syndrome. He did mention that the School Committee leans toward its incremental, modest student-assignment proposal. He’d rather see the Quality Choice Plan or at least a hybrid with its key features.
Listen in to hear him on the plan.
Connolly on BPS [30:36m]: Play Now
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