Broad coalition of families, students, and educators fighting to keep Boston Public Schools under local control to hold protest outside BESE meeting in Malden
BOSTON – Days after Commissioner Riley announced his intention to declare Boston Public Schools (BPS) an “underperforming district,” Boston educators and community allies of the Our City, Our Schools coalition will rally early Tuesday morning at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education office in Malden against any state intervention of Boston Public Schools that strips the Boston community of their voice.
While coalition members testify inside Tuesday’s Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meeting, the broader group will hold a protest outside as they make the case that no one knows Boston schools and what our students need as well as the educators, families and students who make up our school communities.
WHAT: Protest and Rally Outside BESE Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
WHO: BPS families, students, educators and allies
WHERE: Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148
WHY: State takeovers are ineffective, anti-democratic and racist tactics that, based on their track record to date, would cause harm to BPS students, families, and educators, disproportionately impacting communities of color. Advocates, experts and officials from across the City and state are calling for an end to threats of state takeover of the district, and instead are demanding a focus on providing what BPS needs: stable leadership, consistent evidence-based policies, adequate staffing and resources, and educational solutions that come from our educators, families, and students.
VISUALS: 300 students, educators, parents and public education supporters in colored shirts holding signs and speaking at a podium on a small stage in front of the DESE building. Speakers will include students and parents giving testimonies BESE would not accommodate.
The allies who comprise this coalition, including the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance, the Boston Education Justice Alliance, Citizens for Public Schools, the Boston Teachers Union, AFT Massachusetts, and more have maintained that receivership and other top-down takeovers unfairly target Black and Latinx communities, strip local democratically elected officials of control of their schools, disenfranchise families and residents, and have a track record of failure across the state.
The threat of a state takeover is escalating, and Commissioner Riley has publicly recommended that the Board vote to declare BPS an “underperforming district” at their Tuesday, June 28 meeting in Malden. This new top-down, bureaucratic maneuver would give Commissioner Riley the sole power to approve or deny an improvement plan from BPS, and it would further extend DESE’s reach into BPS operations. Under state regulations, the commissioner alone would have the decision making power to release BPS from this status, while the district could still be put into receivership at a later time. The effects of state takeover have already been felt in Boston. The Dever and UP Holland schools have both been under receivership for more than eight years now and have failed to achieve the desired outcomes. Instead, these schools have seen higher staff turnover, unsustainable working conditions, a dismantled dual language program, and a weakening of educators’ ability to enforce portions of their contract.
The local coalition is arguing that what’s needed are the evidence-based and locally generated proposals the union and coalition have been advocating for and an accountable, elected school committee–not state intervention with a proven history of failure.
The protest will begin at 8:00 a.m. outside of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Malden. Public comment will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be livestreamed to BESE’s website
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The “Our City, Our Schools”
coalition is a BTU member-led campaign to fight the root causes of state-imposed intervention in schools, advocating for resources, stability, and improved teaching and learning conditions for our schools.