Our fight against receivership and state intervention continues, and we are showing up and showing out in big ways this week to make our voices heard! More and more allies are joining us every day – last week, the Boston City Council passed a resolution opposing receivership by an 11-1 margin (Councilor Baker voted no, and Councilor Flaherty abstained) and AFT President Randi Weingarten joined us in saying NO to receivership and YES to the supports we need to recover and thrive. We are now calling on state legislators and leaders to support the district with community-led solutions, not top-down intervention.
We need your help NOW as the Board discusses the latest audit this morning.Despite the lack of evidence both locally and nationally that such a proposal would actually help the students of Boston and despite over 10,000 sent letters speaking against receivership – including many by our own elected leaders – the Commissioner and members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have continued to suggest that this would actually be their recommendation.
State receivership has been documented to be generally ineffective or harmful in all cases where it has been attempted in Massachusetts, including where it has been attempted at individual schools within BPS. In fact, over many years, receivership schemes by state bureaucrats have been proven to be ineffectual in nearly all cases where they have been attempted across the nation. Second, the report contains factual inaccuracies to such a degree that it warrants significant revision and either to be rescinded or reissued. Additionally, to the extent the report points to some well-known areas where the district has room for improvement, it is demonstrably clear that the City of Boston’s newly and democratically elected mayor has plans and a vision to address those areas and she should be given the opportunity to see those plans through before the state attempts another expensive, harmful and undemocratic takeover orchestrated by partisan bureaucrats.
This is an opportunistic attempt to overcommit the state past the current governor’s tenure to a hostile, unhealthy and burdensome relationship with the city by bullying the new mayor into an untenable, undemocratic, and patronizing arrangement. The state has forced BPS to do a report that normally takes several months in just two weeks. With a mayor that has been in place less than six months, the timing of this report is suspect, rushed, and ill-advised. Board members being given less than twenty-four hours to read or provide feedback on a report like this is demonstrative of a failed and negligent process on the part of the state. Furthermore, DESE has failed to maintain its obligations under the 2020 MOA with the City of Boston and so should focus its efforts on improving the state’s own performance in the districts where its receivership efforts are already and currently failing.
BTU staff has been visiting schools to lead a brief meeting with your school’s staff to explain the consequences of receivership and the urgency of this situation. Please be sure to attend this critical meeting. Visit btu.org/OurCityOurSchools to take action today! Together, our collective power can move the needle to get what our students DO need.
Wear It Wednesdays continue! Tomorrow, wear your MORE COUNSELORS sticker (see your Building Rep for a sticker) and share why ensuring that our students have more counselors (and all of our proposals!) is important to you. Submit your pictures and quotes to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see all of the photos we’ve already received in our Facebook album! To learn more about our contract negotiations and what we’re fighting for, visit BTU.org/bargaining!
Lastly, while the threat of state intervention has made it more difficult to recruit strong candidates for superintendent, the search committee was able to review over 30 applications and will be conducting first round interviews this week. This is another reason why the timing for state intervention makes no sense – a new superintendent is likely to be announced by the end of next month, and they should be able to lead without the state intevening and making a difficult job even more difficult.
Please stay tuned for emergent news about the fight for local control of our schools and against state intervention, our fight for a new contract and for updates on the new superintendent search.