BJ Ray doesn't get why people are organizing protests over the closing of the Hi-Lo but not the Agassiz School:
Boston Public School administration has given the school the kiss-off and, it would seem, is readying it for private development. For a school whose majority percentage of students were minorities in the community, this should be greater cause for alarm than an organic food chain. THIS is where the attention should be paid. If you google ("Agassiz School" & "Jamaica Plain") you get about 4000 results. If you google ("Whole Foods" & "Jamaica Plain") you get about 150,000 results. You don't have to be a mathematician to see where the public's priorities align. Clearly its easier to rally behind the cause that has the face of corporate influence.
At-large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley today called for a comprehensive sex-education program and for easier availability of condoms in Boston schools.
"Not taking action, now that would be controversial. It would also be cowardly and counter to what I believe the role of government is - to solve problems and make people's lives better," she said at a hearing.
Pressley said she was not advocating teaching young people how to have sex. "Our young people already know how to have sex," she said. She said she would want any program to include discussions of abstinence. "I wish our young people would wait as long as possible to become sexually active, wait until they're older, more emotionally mature, better prepared to deal with the consequences and in a healthy, safe and exclusive relationship with a loving partner. But a solution based on wishing our young people would wait to have sex and doing nothing else is no solution at all." [Pressley's complete opening statement]
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today a woman who claimed to be the daughter of an East Boston parking-lot owner could share in his estate even if none of the man's relatives had ever heard of her - or even if she was not his biological daughter.
At issue is a $32-million estate left by Lou DeSanctis, who, despite having made millions running contracting businesses and two East Boston "park and fly" lots, died without a will in 2008.
A few months after his death, his sister, Lydia Bevis, turned over administration of his estate to Mary Verna Hughes, who said she was DeSanctis's daughter. That came as shocking news to his nieces and nephews, who had never heard of her and who sued to block her from sharing in the estate.
But, as the appeals court noted:
It's getting to the point where you need more than your hands to count the number of snow days around here, which means summer vacations will start a bit later than usual for a lot of kids.
In Boston, the last day of school has moved from June 21 to the 27th. But it won't go much further: the teachers contract stipulates that school can not go past June 30, reports the Globe. To make the mandated 180 days of instruction happen, they may take away some of the April vacation.
“If we have a couple more we’re going to have to look at other ways to make these up,” [schools spokesman Matthew] Wilder said. “At this stage, I think everything is on the table,” he added when asked if school officials were eyeing any dates in particular should two more cancellations occur.
Same story in my town, Mansfield, where at this point school won't get out until June 28. Three more snow days, and hello July!
NSFW profane language
So another day with the kiddos.
MBTA bus driver suspended for doing what probably every school-bus driver, ever, has dreamed of doingBy adamg - 1/11/11 - 7:40 am
The Herald reports the MBTA has suspended a driver who basically locked a bunch of Boston Latin School students in and then took them for an angry ride off her route after some pranksters kept pushing the stop strip and wouldn't fess up. Among the mini-hostages: Tom Menino's granddaughter.
With a six-year-old at home, Christine Koh surveys local parents to find the going rate for teeth under pillows: She reports rates as high as $10 a tooth, adds:
[N]o, it's not because I co-mingle with high society in a wealthy Boston district or suburb. In fact, when I tell people where I (very happily) live, usually their first (rather clueless) question is, "Aren't you worried about the schools?" I love our community of parents here -- they're cool, reasonable people who I don't consider overly materialistic.
Wicked Local Brookline reports on the Devotion School's plan for bringing back the pledge.
Tom Menino used a speech before business leaders this morning to call for a new teacher contract that would let the city tie teacher pay to student performance, extend the school day and give principals more flexibility in assigning teachers. Also, the city needs to finally re-district its elementary-school assignment zones so it can spend more on education and less on busing, he said, adding he fully supports a proposal to cut costs by shutting and merging a number of schools. The School Committee votes on that tomorrow night.
Marjorie Arons-Barron has more on what she called one of the best speeches of his political career.
Step aside, Roslindale. Back Bay? So passe. Jeffries Point in East Boston is where it's at, the Globe declares.
McKinsey & Co. set out to find the 20 most improved school systems in the world over the past decade or so; Boston was one of two US district to make the cut. McKinsey partly credits overall improvements in Massachusetts (now the US leader in public education, apparently), partly Tom Menino's good luck in appointing Thomas Payzant as superintendent (McKinsey looked at Boston data between 2003 and 2009).
Within this much-improved state, the Boston Public School District is a much-improved district. As a four-time finalist and 2006 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, Boston has raised the proportion of its students that pass the state exams in mathematics from 23 percent in 1998 to 84 percent in 2008, and those that pass in reading from 43 percent in 1998 to 91 percent in 2008.
UPDATE: The Agassiz School in Jamaica Plain is one of the dozen schools that could close. See the comments for more.
The Globe previews tonight's School Committee meeting, at which Superintendent Carol Johnson will, again, propose shutting schools, including five of the six she had earlier called for closing (she wouldn't tell the Globe which of the six won the musical chairs). At issue: A large projected deficit for next year and the fact the system has several thousand empty seats.
Stefan Lanfer of Jamaica Plain faces that classic conundrum of Boston parents who believe in public-school educations: The dreaded school lottery. He begins to think about moving - like some of his friends and neighbors. But then, he realized just how special his neighborhood and city is:
For all of the effort and dollars now focused on trying to fix public schools, sometimes I wonder if the most meaningful and impactful thing we could do - and that any family with choice could do - is to stay put. It is one of the few incontrovertible levers for lasting school reform - when more and more parents are more and more engaged, schools get better. Way better. Neighborhood and sense of community gets richer too. I know this kind of talk triggers cliché's of bleeding heart liberal parents sacrificing kids on the altar of their ideals. But that cliché is based on a false paradigm. Because giving up on reaching for whatever it is the suburbs may have to offer isn’t our only possible sacrifice. There is gain and there is loss no matter what we choose.
I sure would like to stay.
This time she really means it: School superintendent warns of 'devastating' cuts if she can't close some schools, eliminate bus routesBy adamg - 11/17/10 - 11:29 pm
The Globe reports on School Superintendent Carol Johnson's report to the School Committee tonight.
At least, when it comes to standardized test scores.
Robert Burgess reports on an impromptu adventure with son Will this morning: A train ride from South Acton to Lincoln and back again:
There are plenty of chores and errands to run, but we want our little sponge to just soak up the experiences of life. Sure, we're sacrificing my full-time salary to help keep the house running, but that needs to be balanced with Will's needs. The train ride was a great rainy Monday success, so I think we'll try it again sometime and maybe go farther. Maybe, as Will would say, we'll go to infinity and beyond.
Yep, the 7th and 8th grade dance at Holy Name has just let out and parents of a couple hundred kids all have all converged on the rotary at the same time to pick their kids up.
The Herald reports on a meeting of the Boston School Committee.
The Dorchester Reporter alerts us that parents at the Clap School are organizing to keep the elementary school open rather than meekly submit to School Superintendent Carol Johnson's proposal to shut it as underperforming:
Parents say the figures don't tell the school's whole story and they argue the test scores are limited to a small subset of students. Twenty-six percent of the students are special needs.
Sweating profusely in the back seat of the locked vehicle with its windows rolled up as mom was in a Cambridge Street store exchanging something.
Boston Police report they are looking for Jeffrey Cooper, 15, last seen at his East Boston home around 9 p.m. on Friday, wearing blue jeans, black New Balance sneakers and glasses, and with a black and gray backpack.
Cooper, who is autistic and has trouble communicating, "enjoys riding trains and may try to visit the South End, the Boston Garden or the Boston University areas," police say. This is the third time he's gone missing in recent months, so police know he might also be found riding the Red Line.
If you see him, contact A-7 detectives at 617-343-4234 or the anonymous tip line at 1-800-494-TIPS or by texting TIP to CRIME (27463).