Group that could change Boston Public Schools student assignment can keep meetings private, state rules

The state Attorney General's office ruled last month that a committee composed of representatives of the city's public, charter and Catholic schools that is looking at ways to change how kids enroll in local schools and how the three systems share resources is not a "public" body and so can meet in private and not post meeting minutes or even alert the public to meetings to begin with.

In its ruling, the AG's Division of Open Government said that because only five of the Boston Compact Steering Committee's members are appointed by BPS, it's not really a "public" body subject to the state Open Meeting Law, because without even a majority of members, BPS doesn't control the committee.

The ruling comes in response to a complaint from Quality Education for Every Student, a BPS parent group, which argued the Compact's work could have significant impacts on the BPS system:

The Compact is engaged in deliberations and will be making recommendations to the Boston School Committee and Charter School Boards regarding a common system of assigning school-aged children to either a BPS school or a charter school within the City (Enroll Boston), services for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, grade configuration, a tri-sector master facilities plan, cross-sector leases, co-location of district and charter schools, bulk purchasing and other governmental functions.

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Comments

What do they have to hide ?

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What do they have to hide ? Sounds like the groundwork for another great educational scheme. Well , meet all you want, but no BPS resources should be allocated to this venture. Let them spin their wheels all they want.

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QUEST can't even hold Boston Compact accountable for public mtgs

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Boston Compact is funded by "philanthropies" with a history in funding school privatization, which is what Boston Compact is. I think Walsh got Gates Foundation funding for it or asked.

The compact is an agreement to close public schools with low test scores and make the buildings available to charter schools. School privatization is interested in getting a bigger share of public funding for education, and urban real estate.

I attended a meeting in JP last October. People want their elected officials, who can be held accountable, making policy, not self-appoint eduprenuers who cannot be held accountable. QUEST can't even hold Boston Compact accountable for making their minutes public.

What if we tried to make the BPS members comply with the law?

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Bad call by AG

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So, BPS staff are not the majority in this board, therefore the minutes don't need to be public. Hmmm, that means the majority of members are from the charters and Archdiocese, and this majority will determine the quality education of 57,000 children in BPS. Seems wrong on many levels.
For those who are interested, yes, this appears to be part of a greater behind the scenes plan that lacks transparency and moves the agenda of Walsh, Baker and pro charter groups.
Boston is a member of CRPE- a Gates funded initiative- to have unified enrollment and increase charters. When you look at the 18 month portfolio plan, you better understand what is going on and what lies ahead. Problem is, it's being done behind closed doors and using questionable methods. Stakeholder input is less important than making it look like they have community support as they steamroll towards privitizing public education crating a two tier system in Boston.
http://www.crpe.org

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Hold Walsh accountable

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Hold Walsh accountable for not knowing the difference between a special interest group-- BostonCompact--making policy, and elected officials who can be held accountable.

Walsh was happy to have BostonCompact do the road show, which was not received well in JP (the only one I attended)

MA senate's RISE Act included some of the policies BostonCompact and Walsh were asking for-- unified enrollment. The House did not produce a bill or take up RISE Act.

Walsh was one of the sponsors of the 2010 ed reform bill which doubled the charter cap to 18% of district budget. This year he failed to level fund services in Boston Schools, he left us about $21m short, even as Boston had over $100m in new revenue. Last week, the state cut charter reimbursement.

Two school cmte members and 4 city councilors opposed Bostron Schools budget. If we can get 3 more city councilors to oppose we can force Walsh to negotiate.

77% of the kids in BPS are poor. 7000 are homeless. I'm quite disgusted by Walsh and MA House decision to put austerity on the most vulnerable who have one path out -- education,

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Yup

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If Connolly were mayor, the charters and other private sector school reform people wouldn't have been able to do this.

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2/3rds of the committee gets

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2/3rds of the committee gets their money from tax payers. But it's not a public body. Huh.

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Of course they're private!

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Yes, the reps of charter and parochial schools are private...absolutely. They have that in common. And that should be the headline. "AG decides charter schools (and their associations) are private entities." A board on which private reps are in the majority should not be subject to Open Meeting Law, but nor should those private reps be receiving public funds for their schools. Most of all, they should CERTAINLY NOT be making public policy decisions regarding public schools (in secret, or in "open" meetings). Not content to privatize public schools, the Mayor--with the largesse of the Gates Foundation--is privatizing the way decisions are made about the public schools. But then again, he does come to us from the board of a charter school. On you go, Marty. You're greasing your own skids!

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Good call

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The small vocal entrenched group of social justice terrorists led by that bully Tito Jackson has been shouting down and stalking anyone who disagrees with them. So creepy, yet they think they are doing Gods work or something. Completely unwilling to have any kind of reasonable discussion. The school board has to pretend to listen to their inane comments every meeting, I bet they go throw up in the fancy new bathrooms during the meeting breaks.

Its a good thing some group of professionals can have a grown up discussion to plan the future of the schools without those whining creeps twisting every word for their lackeys at the Globe and the Herald.

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Well, I did NOT think

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I would get to add "social justice terrorist" to the next-gen bingo card, but you've given me a unique opportunity, anon. Unfortunately, it means moving "total misunderstanding of the use of the apostrophe" to the free space, and I'm not sure we're collectively ready for that.

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What QUEST seems to keep forgetting . ..

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Is only the Boston School Committee can set policy for the Boston Public Schools, not the Compact group - or any other group that makes suggestions. And the Boston School Committee is fully subject to Open Meeting Law requirements. The Compact group does not make policy, and that fact doesn't change no matter how many times Quest members seem to repeat it.

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.

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Unified enrollment was formulated and presented to the public by Boston Compact, a private organization this is formulating public policy.

It's important for institutions that make policy for the public to be open and accountable to the public.

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