It’s mystifying that Marty Walsh talked about closing and consolidating schools at the announcement of his facilities plan because it is projected that Boston will grow by 100,000 people in the next 15 years. Certainly, some of those 100,000 people will be kids and will need schools to go to.
So why are school closings being announced from the get go? (And no, calling them consolidations instead of closings does nothing to erase the reality of shutting down schools.)
It can partly be explained by the fact that the vision of the school district has been mapped out. But it hasn’t been mapped out in community engagement meetings or even down at 1 City Hall Square.
Did know that Boston is part of the Portfolio School District Network as envisioned by Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)? I didn’t either until the Boston Compact. And who is CRPE? They are a Gates funded initiative the supports the creation of portfolio school districts.
Portfolio school districts have a common assessment across sectors (district and charter) and a commitment to closing schools that do not assess well.
Hence the need for the Unified Enrollment the Boston Compact is now pushing.
Here is a link to the CRPE studies assessment about Boston’s progress in creating a portfolio school district.
And here is their chart about the installation of key components of this plan:
Notice the need for a “BIG WIN” in identifying a tool to assess schools across sectors. That is why the Boston Compact is proposing rolling charters into the BPS lottery. It has nothing to do with parent convenience. They are looking for a common assessment tool.
The CRPE Institute provides its school districts with an 18 month portfolio implementation plan. I encourage you to click on the link and look at the entire game plan.
We are currently at the 7-10 month mark which as you can see involves “engaging parents” around the “unified enrollment system.” You can see how well that is going for them here:
The 8 month goal includes “Inventory all district buildings.” Hence the facilities plan that Marty Walsh initiated.
At one year, the plan instructs districts to “Identify additional schools to become autonomous.” Honestly, I’m not sure what they mean by that. Do they mean pilot? Charter? Turnaround? I don’t know.
But things really get interesting towards the end.
At 12 months, a district is instructed to prepare buildings for transitions.
At month 13-15, the district is to open new schools to replace failing schools. How are these failing schools determined? I believe that is what the common assessment tool is for.
And then finally, at 18 months, districts will announce schools that may be closed or replace.
So there is your 18 month plan for the district. And you didn’t get it from City Hall. You got it from the website of a Gates funded non-profit.