Knowing that Boston’s School Committee has narrowed its superintendent search to three finalists, looking ahead to the opportunities and risks of the summer, and reflecting on the recent college admission scandal, I have been thinking about how privilege begets privilege, and barriers beget barriers.
Consider Michelle Obama’s 2012 speech: “When you’ve walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you; you reach back and give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
Opening doors and removing barriers for young people who did not grow up with economic privilege – it is the right thing to do and has a measurable return on investment.
Right here in Boston, our public schools are teeming with smart, talented, ambitious and hard-working young people who face tremendous odds. Some 4,000 are homeless; one-third are not native English speakers; more than two-thirds live in households struggling to cover the basic costs of food, clothing, health care and housing. Too many have experienced racial discrimination or the trauma of violence.