The Boston City Council today agreed to hold at least one hearing to try to figure out how to make Madison Park the sort of vocational school that educators from other cities would want to visit to learn how it does things.
As part of the process leading up to the hearing, Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) said she and co-sponsors Annissa Essaibi-George (at large) and Kim Janey (Roxbury) hope to visit successful vocational schools in other parts of the state.
Councilors today agreed that Madison Park, the city's only vocational high school still has what Councilor Ayanna Pressley called "the gap in excellence" that its students deserve, and that the city needs to finally figure out how to provide quality, job-prepapring education for students who either don't want to go to college or who want to go to college in a specialized technical field.
Essaibi-George, who chairs the council's education committee, said she would take the concept of vocational education even further and try to figure out how to extend it to other schools in BPS.
Pressley, however, cautioned she would fight any efforts to expand vocational education beyond Madison Park before the city finally figures out how to create a quality program at Madison Park.
"We need to make good on our promises to Madison Park" first, she said. "The students deserve that, the times and this economy requires that."
Pressley added that at some point, city officials who have held countless discussions about Madison Park, are going to have to acknowledge that fixing Madison Park is going to take more money.
Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) put in a pitch for ensuring Madison Park students get a crack at "green" jobs, through programs in everything from renewable energy to mass transit.