Well, we’ve had a busy week. The Boston School Department and the Justice Department agreed on September 30 to resolve a dispute dating from 2003, wherein some students lacking English proficiency had been denied appropriate services. Essentially, the settlement grants remedial services to approximately 8,000 ELL students while providing support and targeted professional development to their teachers. View and download a copy of the agreement.
The day before the school department agreed to the federal settlement, the Mass DOE granted tentative approval to 16 new charter schools in Boston. You can view the MA DOE list here. Is this a tragic irony or a triumph of politics over educational equality and access? Look at the facts and you decide.
Of the 16 new charters, the state DOE approved a 700-seat MATCH school, in effect franchising the current 382-seat MATCH school. What is the percentage of LEP students at the existing MATCH school? 0.0% according the MA DOE website. That’s right – not a single student! The percentage of LEP students in the BPS: 20.4%.
The state DOE also tentatively approved four franchises of the Edward Brooke charter, an expansion of 1,760 students, on top of the Brooke’s current 440-seat charter school. What’s the current percentage of LEP students at the Brooke Charter? 0.7% according to the MA DOES website. That’s 3 LEP students. In Boston, there are more than 11,000.
So, let’s see if we get this right. On the one hand the feds investigate how the BPS treats its ELL population, finds fault, and the BPS enters into a settlement agreement to remedy 7 years of injustice. This is a good thing.
And, on the other hand, the ‘progressive’ and ‘enlightened’ state DOE gives tentative approval to 16 new charters, although everyone acknowledges that charters have tended to ignore ELL students and their educational needs. And in particular, two charters that have not taken one iota of responsibility for the education of LEP students get five franchises. Read more about the track record of charters schools in Massachusetts.
Go figure. Better yet, the state ought to have some explaining to do. We’re waiting, and will keep you posted. (Read the Globe coverage on the federal settlement and the tentative list of new charter schools.)
We will have more to say in this space after our attorneys have had a chance to review.
Special Meeting for ELL Teachers and Paras
Also, we are pleased to announce a meeting for all ELL teachers and paras to meet with attorneys for the plaintiffs in the above-mentioned settlement with the Justice Department. That meeting will be held at the BTU at 4:00 PM on Monday, October 18. The meeting is open to all members, and will give all a chance to voice their opinion of the school department’s ELL program and how it can be improved. Attorney Roger Rice and Attorney Miguel A Perez-Vargas will be present. We hope to see you there.