The Globe takes a long look at the JP high school on the departure of the dynamic young principal hired to turn the school around, only he didn't.
Even the best run school with the best teachers in the world can't fix a majority of pupils uninterested in learning.
I'm sure the kids interested in learning benefited from school reform. Unfortunately those kids are still stuck in classrooms with many others that don't want to be there at all.
You know how you read about those great small schools? The ones that feel like a family and the kids are college bound (for real)? Yeah, those schools, as well as the exam schools, are full of the kids who have a direction in life. Big schools like English and Charlestown are packed to the gills with the kids who are just marking time and generally dragging down the MCAS averages. These kids have been in school ten-plus years by the time they reach English, you only end up there if you don't fight and lobby to go somewhere better. The teacher in that article who talked about the all male classes is dead on, I've visited that school. The teacher was powerless, the kids all wore headphones and bullied each other - while ignoring the instruction. I feel bad for the few kids there who do want to learn, they'll get little chance.
You are completely correct. These kids, at the advanced age of 14, have made the decision to be career ne'er-do-wells and layabouts, and we are helpless in the face of their overwhelming apathy. It's their personal responsibility, after all. Rather than try to help them, by (say) providing them a school environment that doesn't burn through 75% of its staff every four years at the whim of of yet another progress-minded MBA who thinks that private industry is the right model for a public school, we should instead abandon them to their fates as ditch-diggers and burger-flippers.
Hell, why not cut right to the heart of the matter? Know what would be cheapest for everyone involved? Telling them all to just go lie down in a ditch and die. We'll add that to the '13-'14 curriculum for students that anon has deemed unworthy of BPS' benevolent largesse.
Our school resources should be concentrated on the kids who want to take advantage of them. For the kids who aren't interested, the schools should warehouse them as cheaply as possible until they can legally drop out.
Actually, I do believe that the kids bear some responsibility for their educational outcomes. If you're naive enough to think that every kid in English is a flower in want of water then you've never spent much time in a Boston classroom. There are thousands of kids in Boston who vocally don't give a crap about school and no one in their family is doing a thing about it. Kids who can't be held back again, kids who miss dozens of days a year, kids who show up late and unprepared - blame the teachers, blame the system.
The unavoidable truth is that we are dealing with the neglected children of multi-generational poverty, kids raised by drop-outs and inappropriate television. Kids who are so insanely self destructive that all of the dollars in the BPS budget could not get them to succeed. All the system can do is shuffle them around so that their negative testing results are diluted.
I went to English, it was basically just a clubhouse for me and my friends
The next time you see a slobbering/glowing press release about how Boston Latin (THE best public school in the country!) has been awarded yet another six-figure award. Meanwhile, English and many others like it go begging.
Mumbles has a lot to claim on the plus-side since he took over right after the Civil War. But the school system is still the fetid swamp it was when he walked in.
BLS gets the least money per student of any school in the BPS system. BLA and O'Bryant aren't far behind.
Yes the BLS has a lot of resources. One could argue that the students' parents (and the alums) might create a better overall outcome for society if they donated more of their time/money to schools other than their own child's. But you can hardly fault them for that. And every dollar the BPS doesn't spend on the BLS is one it can spend on a school that needs the funds more desperately.
p.s. "fetid swamp"? I'm no fan-boy of the Court Street crowd, but that's pretty pathetic hyperbole. Troll gotta troll, I guess.
p.p.s. Btw, on the topic of many-figure awards to deserving BPS schools, how about a big round of applause for the Irving Middle School (Roslindale) and the McCormack Middle School (Dorchester), for winning multi-million Investing in Innovation grants this year? I can personally vouch that Arthur Unobsky, the principal at the Irving, has made significant positive changes there (to both culture and academic outcomes) in just two years. There's still plenty of work to do, but a school that was considered troubled just a few years ago is now trying to figure out how to deal with the issue of oversubscription, and trying to convince Court St to let them add an additional AWC class to satisfy demand. Hats off to Arthur and his great staff! (and the awesome kids!)
The next time you see a headline that goes something like this:
"Senator Kerry Visits Jeremiah E. Burke, Announces Stunning Grant"
"Paul Allen Praises Boston English, Announces New Alliance with Microsoft"
Please be sure to let us all know. But until then, I'm betting that the high school that needs it least gets all the goodies. And the runs that need it most get all the crumbs.
And oh, yeah, Mumbles is doing a fine job on that school system. Just ask anyone who doesn't breath the holy atmosphere off Ave. Louis Pasteur.
OK, you hate BLS. Go you.
If anything, I'd argue over the past couple of years, at least, the powers that be have consistently underplayed BLS. If you scan the recent BPS press releases, BLS does not figure prominently. Although the archive is filled with stories about grants and stuff for Boston schools, you have to go all the way back to November for a press release that's specifically about BLS - Boston Latin School recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. I hope that doesn't offend you.
No press releases about Paul Allen, but there is Obama visits Boston's innovative TechBoston Academy: "Funded through Gates Foundation grant and launched in 2002 by Mayor Menino, school displays transforming vision of shared responsibility in preparing students to lead our nation."
The last two stories I remember hearing about BLS were about the kid diagnosed with TB and the kid charged with setting trash fires. Hardly award-winning stuff putting other schools to shame.
Yes, I'm a parent of a BLS student. No, I don't think BPS is doing a uniformly "fine" job across the city. There are some excellent programs out there, and there are some examples of major progress (and yes, the Irving is a great example).
But you have to balance those against the botched closure of Hyde Park High (oopsies, we forgot the state would cancel millions of dollars of payments for its renovation), the botched effort to cram BLA into Hyde Park High (see previous oopsie), the botched effort to turn English around, the botched busing program this past fall, etc., etc.
And you have to consider that maybe, just maybe, BLS is not to blame for any of these problems.
When we lived in Newton donations by parents to individual schools, except for playground equipment, was not allowed. Money or equipment could only be donated to the school system for use where it was most needed in the opinion of the professionals running the schools. The reasoning was that all schools were part of a public school system and should act that way. And at least as far as money raising was concerned one school shouldn't be favoured over another.
To have a public school funded like BLS with its own endowment is reprehensible .Its financial resources could be used elewhere in the system. It is wrong for one so-called public school to have so much when there are greater needs elsewhere in other public schools. So much for a sense of community.
This isn't to say that BLS academically isn't a great school.
It's almost certainly because people work harder to raise money for their own school communities. In Boston, people would probably contribute less if they couldn't direct the funds. Also, schools in Boston have kids from more than just the immediate neighborhood so in a sense, the money is spread around. BLS has kids from all over and all demographics.
Rather than dilute the pool at schools that fund-raise successfully, how about encouraging family and community engagement in EVERY school.
That must have been a boon for the impoverished Newton neighborhoods with high rates of intergenerational poverty and failing schools. I wish I lived somewhere people were so socially conscious! Unfortunately, I don't make enough money.
The new headmaster that is coming in Mrs. Murphy is fantastic and did a great job at Excel high school a couple years back.
The kids at English flipped when it was threatened with closure. If they want to keep the school open why don't they try harder?
You could go show them how, you know. Go set an example, go teach, coach, etc.
Maybe you would find out that achieving academic excellence isn't so easy as a flip scolding about what you perceive as a simple lack of effort.
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