December 20, 2005


School choices with consequences (Steve Poftak, December 20, 2005, Boston Globe)

FEW NOTICED WHEN the Boston School Committee recently closed Grover Cleveland Middle School.

No parents attended a meeting called by the school to discuss the issue, and no one stood up to defend the school at the school committee's closure hearing.

When not one parent of the 350 children enrolled speaks up, that's a sure sign of parental apathy, right? Not really. Few wanted their children enrolled at the school in the first place.

Eighty percent of Cleveland students were assigned there by the Boston Public Schools system. The children attend Cleveland because that is where the system had empty seats, not because their parents chose the school.

Then, there's Cleveland's reputation for poor performance. With MCAS test results long among the worst in the city, parents have voted with their feet. Over the past five years, student enrollment plummeted from 750 to 350. Fewer than 75 students, in a facility that can accommodate 750, chose to be there.

The closure of Cleveland is a positive sign that the system finally acknowledges it was sustaining a school most parents did not want.

Students should not be forced to attend institutions with consistent records of failure simply to utilize capacity. However, the closure and parental apathy surrounding it are symptomatic of a much deeper and systemic problem in Boston.

Boston's school selection system and the statewide cap on charters schools compels parents to send their children to failing schools.

Yeah, but they aren't our kids, so who cares?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 20, 2005 7:51 AM
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