I can imagine a new Boston. I can imagine a new day for public schools. We just have to believe in it, collectively.
Boston has the wealth. We can fund our schools.
We must vote in leadership that supports public education. We must make education the single most important issue when we vote. We must press every single elected official for details on how they will support the schools.
And more importantly, we have to vote people out of office when they break their promises to us.
I’ve been invited to the table but I don’t want to eat with wolves. I refuse to entertain relationships with people who clamor to close our schools on the one hand, and then turn around advocate for more charter seats on the other – as if the two weren’t related.
I don’t want to hear about structural deficits when 56% of our Chapter 70 aid goes to charter schools that only serve 8,000 students in the city.
I want to imagine a different Boston.
One where there are charter schools, yes, but not at the expense of the public schools.
I can imagine a Boston where our schools are joyful centers of learning. Where there is art, music and plenty of recess.
I can imagine a Boston where restorative justice is used and not suspensions to help children learn to modulate their behavior. I can imagine a Boston where children are allowed to be children and are given space to develop self-discipline.
I can imagine a Boston where teenagers are not spending their precious time going to school committee meetings to beg for crumbs but are engaged in active learning opportunities, sports, internships and stem activities.
I can imagine a Boston where our elected and school officials are true partners with us, where we have developed trust and treated each other with respect so that if we do fall upon hard times, there is a well of good will to draw upon.
I can imagine a Boston where parents aren’t laying awake at night wondering if they made some horrible mistake staying in the city and not leaving for the suburbs.
I can imagine a Boston where your zip code does not determine the quality of your education. I can imagine a Boston where any high school in the district is a solid choice for your child.
I can imagine a Boston where schools are opening in beautiful buildings not being closed or constantly threatened.
We don’t have to live like this. But it really doesn’t come down to us. We must defend and support pro education candidates. If pro education candidates do not present themselves, we must be willing to put our hat in the ring. Because we really do have a structural deficit. And that is a structure that promotes the interest of the vested and powerful over the vulnerable. But the big secret is that there are more of us than there is of them. We have the power to change things we just don’t know it.
I can #ImageBoston with no more tears at our school committee meetings.