To hear the mayor speak of it, there are no problems with his budget for Boston Public Schools. He keeps saying that there is a capacity for 90,000 students in BPS while only serving 57,000 students. But where did he get that number? Does he ever say? The master facilities plan is still ongoing. And the McKinsey report is completely unreliable.
He will also brag, repeatedly, about how he has raised the BPS budget by 13 million. Now that’s only a 1% raise even though the negotiated contracts call for 3% cost of living raise. But it doesn’t stop him from bringing up as a political point.
I want parents, especially parents who have been in BPS a few years, to ask yourselves a few questions when you step into your children’s school.
Do you have the same resources that you had when your children first entered into school?
Do you have the same number of teachers? Have you lost specials: art, music, foreign languages?
Do parents have to raise more and more money?
Do you have the same number of students in the building as you did before?
You do not have to rely on the spin of the policy makers because your own lived experience provides you with the data.
And this is happening all across the city.
Take for example, Snowden International High School. Snowden International is a non-exam high school that awards an International Baccalaureate diploma after the students complete 4 years of world language study, history science and math.
Its student body is 90% students of color. They are losing $390,000 dollars and will lose 2 english teachers, the math teacher will go down to part time, and like BCLA, they will fall out of compliance when they lose their librarian.
This is a successful school that is being targeted by the Walsh administration for failure. The city is choosing to undermine the education of these young people and not support their school.
The city ended last year with a budget surplus. This is a choice. These are its values. And as important as it is to support early education, to defund high schools is to cut the futures of the city’s teenagers off at knees just before they are set to launch out into the world.
We elect the people who are doing this to our children. We send them into office so that they can sit in their nice offices, with their advisors and their spreadsheets, and then choose to give big tax breaks to corporations but turn their backs on our children.
And as discouraging as this all is there is one thing to remember. They are all coming up quickly on their performance review.