Mayor Walsh commissioned to look at Boston Public Schools. I’m quoted in the article but I had a few additional thoughts.
My biggest concern is that this report is based on efficiency and not on sound academic principles. The report does not give any information on who the auditors are but it would be hard for me to believe that they are educators, doctors or therapists.
Of biggest concern to me is the proposal to move the 3,400 kids in subseperate classrooms into inclusions classrooms. Let me be clear, I think inclusion is a wonderful thing. When it is done well it benefits both the child with special needs and the other children in the classroom. But you can’t do inclusion on the cheap. Inclusion needs to be done for education reasons and not to save money. Because when it is done poorly everyone suffers.
The schools that do inclusion well have lower class sizes, 2 teachers in the classroom, a paraprofessional and the children are given services such as ABA therapy, Speech and Occupational Therapy. This requires more staff and money. All of this goes against the reports overarching recommendations to cut staff and increase class sizes.
You can’t just throw a bunch of high needs kids in a classroom with one dual certified teacher and call it a day. Yes, that’s efficient. You’ll save money but you won’t be getting good educational outcomes.
Inclusion must be based on the needs of the children in the classroom. If you do it to save money, you will betray the core reason for the school district’s being: the children.
The McKinsey Audit: BPS Operational Review_PPT (1)