School officials say they're ready to fire administrators, boot teachers at Madison Park if that's what it takes to fix things there

School officials traveled to Madison Park High School in Roxbury today to put teachers, administrators and students that this time they're serious about turning the school around - through an emergency "intervention team" to be assembled to figure out why an earlier "innovation plan" has failed.

This afternoon [Interim Superintendent John] McDonough and BTU President Richard Stutman jointly informed all Madison Park staff, including administrators and teachers, that there is a real potential that as a result of the intervention some staff members may be involuntarily reassigned from their positions. The intervention tools may also include replacing some leadership staff.

School officials say the latest effort is an attempt to turn around the city's only vocational school under an "innovation plan" adopted in June, 2012 that called for longer school days, new technologies and teaching material and partnerships with local businesses to provide real-world work experience to students.

Madison Park adopted all of these - including spending more than $1 million on new computers, textbooks and technical/vocational materials - but students are still underperfoming, officials say.

Last year, the average Madison Park student missed five weeks of school - with one in four Latino students missing more than seven weeks. And only 30 of the school's 1,100 students participated in an internship or co-op program with a participating company.

"None of us is meeting our obligations to prepare students for success at Madison Park," McDonough said in a statement. "We must make major changes now so Madison Park can truly become the center of excellence and it has the potential to be."

It probably didn't help much when the school's headmaster was dismissed after learning he was being investigated for possible involvement in a credit-card fraud ring.

“There have been promises made to these students but not enough progress," Mayor Walsh said in a statement. "These students have tremendous potential and they need to see real changes. The existing Innovation Plan is our roadmap to success and I have called an exceptional team together to put it in place.”

The "intervention team" will consist of three people appointed by BPS, three by the Boston Teachers Union and one appointed jointly by both. After meeting with administrators, teachers, students and parents, the team will make recommendations on using the 2012 plan more successfully.

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    Comments

    Huck's Hideaway

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    Can only imagine how much money BPS would save if they also got rid of all the people who are squirreled away in all the hidden offices they have there.

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    One question...

    How is it the fault of teachers or administrators that large numbers of students only attend school when they want to? How can one be expected to (effectively) teach students who miss more than a month of classes?

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    Turn it around, if you were a

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    Turn it around, if you were a student, why would you come to class if it was pointless? If the school is failing to teach, or unsafe for studebts, truancy is as likely to be a symptom as a cause.

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    I'm pretty sure that the

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    I'm pretty sure that the students missing 7 weeks of class aren't doing it to make a statement. School just isn't that important to them, for whatever reason. I'm sure their are students succeeding at madison, and those students probably go to school regularly, and do their homework. The only way you can get kids to come to school and do their homework is.....remove them if they don't (like charter schools do). A generation ago, students who didn't do their work or show up were generally blamed for their own circumstances. I don't agree with that stance necessarily, but engagement is a key component to success.

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    Generally speaking, when

    Generally speaking, when large swaths of children are failing to succeed, decent human beings blame society, not the kids. It takes a special kind of coldness to say "well, you got a bad batch of kids this time around, maybe in 4 years they'll be better."

    Of course, the real failures include

    a) the refusal of Greater Boston to tackle its rampant discrimination in the job market, and
    b) the fact that Brookline et al. are separate towns full of moochers who (perhaps unknowingly) mooch off of the families of the kids who go to Madison Park

    The problems facing Madison Park are simply too big for the school to solve. But, you know, much easier to point fingers at kids who feel like high school is a joke because it will offer them no meaningful future. Seems to work for Paul Ryan.

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    A) It is not discrimination

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    A) It is not discrimination in the job market when employers do not want to hire unskilled labor which has demonstrated a lack of motivation by skipping school.

    B) What is there to mooch from people which do not work and produce nothing?

    No one is getting rich off Madison Park's students being financially and academically poor. In fact it is costing everyone else a ton of money in social services, transfer payments, and law enforcement over a lifetime to deal with that shortcoming.

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    Finger pointing at kids?

    Not what I did -- I asked how can you blame teachers (as the primary problems) when they have to deal with large numbers of students who (for whatever reason) only occasionally come to classes.

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    Simple fix is to weigh

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    Simple fix is to weigh academic performance vs. attendance in teacher evaluations. If that was done then a teacher with many lousy students which never show up will still do well in their review based on the performance of the students which to regularly attend class.

    Allowing kids to drop out and stop ruining the learning environment would help too. But society refuses to acknowledge that not everyone wants to learn and can't be forced to.

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    "involuntary reassignment?"

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    I really wonder if these teachers were properly evaluated (because of the principal issue), and if some of them need to actually be permanently "reassigned" out of the system. I guess we won't know until they end up working for a principal who has their act together.

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    Of course court st is doing

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    Of course court st is doing this after sucking out successful programs and resources and putting sucky admins in 3 yrs ago. Only surprise is that court st is surprised that the school needs help

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    Studies have shown that

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    Studies have shown that school attendance as well as school performance can be improved by providing economic incentives for achieving certain milestones (like good attendance or grades). The incentives for achieving milestones can be earned by students, their parents and their teachers.
    The argument against paying for attendance is that compensating only frequently truant students unfairly penalizes students who are not truants. The solution is to compensate all students for achieving things like good attendance. I think NYC found that as little as $3000 per family could produce a good educational return.

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    Bribe them to do which they

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    Bribe them to do which they should be responsible enough to do in the first place? Why is it that poor people elsewhere make every effort to go to even terrible schools but not here? Why the difference in enthusiasm?

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    Our taxes are already paying

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    Our taxes are already paying for enough people to stay home. Why should these kids go to school? they see that it pays to sit home and do nothing. You stay home, you get checks. If you work, you get less money and benefits.
    The government created this system and it's working well.
    Kids need an incentive to do well; summer jobs, positive reinforcement, learning skills to get into a trade, perhaps?
    Paying them to show up isn't the answer.

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    Using economic incentives

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    Using economic incentives (paying students, parents, teachers for achievements) sometimes (but not always) is the answer. Incentive experiments have been tried and measured in NYC. DC Dallas and a few other cities. Some things work and others don't. You can read about these trials by googling Education Innovation Laboratory (it is a Harvard group).