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BPS assignment system that was supposed to ensure all kids had access to a quality school is failing, report says

The Globe gets a copy of a report on the MIT-devised school-assignment system BPS used to replace the old zone system several years ago with the hopes that every elementary-school student in the city would be given a choice of at least one high-quality elementary school. The report found the system is working well - for kids in predominantly white neighborhoods.

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It's not fair that children of lower socio-economic status more frequently go to schools that are of poorer quality, as measured by test scores, which closely track socio-economic status.

Voting closed 9


The futility of this approach is absolutely staggering. Kind of like how closing "failing" schools doesn't work because the measure of "failure" is something completely out of the school's control.

There is of course a relatively simple solution to this problem: Don't use test scores, use "rate of improvement" scores. It's really not that hard.

Voting closed 24

They all live in communities that vote, with parental involvement and insist that their public officials
provide excellent schools.

Does anyone even bother to read what the Boston elected officials say on their websites about education?
Let alone ask them what they are doing about the schools in the City?
Do the local papers even report on the state of the schools in Boston? Of course not, because their staff doesn't send their kids to BPS !!!



Voting closed 25

Does anyone even bother to read what the Boston elected officials say on their websites about education?

There is no point because there is nothing to read. Ed Flynn provided ZERO specifics on how to improve schools and was still elected. What a shame.

Voting closed 16

Amazing how the politicians seem to get their kids into the high performing schools !!!!

Voting closed 24

So much wrong with this article. Worst journalist in the city and I hesitate to even apply that word to him

C'mon. How do you measure "high performing" kindergartens? Plus 80% of kids in downtown neighborhoods go to high performing schools?

So the guy on the beat at BPS doesn't know there are only 2 walk zone schools (qincy and the eliot) for most of this area. The man can't do basic arithmetic, or apparently logic.

Voting closed 18

So long as their way to get around the differential school quality issue is predicated on not solving the problems at the root of the school quality issue, there will always be problems with the "solutions" that avoid solving the root problems.

Voting closed 41

standardized test scores are the only thing defining a high quality school?

Some kids do better on standardized tests than others. So is the only solution to dilute high scoring schools with low scoring students? Isn't there a standardized curriculum throughout the city? How about if a school has a lot of low scoring students, that school implements smaller class sizes so students can get more one on one attention; has more teachers, paras and other support staff to better help the children in that school socially, emotionally, etc.; has a longer school day so that students can get help with homework, etc. That would go further to raising the standardized test scores than shuffling students to different schools where they may not get the help they truly need. Why doesn't BPS really want to help students succeed instead of just making it appear that they're helping?

Voting closed 23

Agreed. We really just need to make the schools quality in all neighborhoods, increasing resources in neighborhoods that need it most. The other way to address the root cause of this finding is to make the standardized tests less racially biased or judge performance in some other way.

Voting closed 6

My understanding is the two biggest reasons kids don't do well in school are not knowing English or behavioral problems. BPS should focus on those two items at the struggling schools and will need to get creative on how to solve these issues that tie into homelife more than school day stuff. Need to come up with sister programs to BPS to reach kids outside of school hours.

Voting closed 33

Teachers and staff have implicit biases, just like any human. This lens affects how they view others, and how they support their students. If the teachers have not adequately challenged their own biases, many will not adequately support their students.

How many times have I heard teachers write off students at the beginning of the year? Enough times to know that teacher bias is a major inhibitor to student success.

Voting closed 21

One man's bias is another man's machine learning model training.

Bias is not inherently wrong (as in, incorrect). It's our brain making predictions based on past experience. Take your post and replace the word "teachers" with "doctors" and "students" with "patients" and then bias suddenly becomes a good thing.

Voting closed 8

I trained to be a teacher; my final year was student teaching, in a public school (not in boston). I was there when my precepting teacher got her student lists for the year - and followed at her heels as she went around the school, asking all the teachers for the younger year who was "good" and who was "bad." she hadn't even met the kids yet and had already decided how their years were going to go.

the education crisis is SUPER complicated, but teacher bias is a thing.

Voting closed 19

Considering that a cursory search for "doctor bias" leads to empirical evidence that it is not a good thing, leading to misdiagnosis, lawsuits and death, I wonder why you think doctor bias is a good thing?

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This is to be expected, is it not, at least in the short term? One of the goals of this effort was to reduce the amount of busing that kids need to do. Having kids going to schools closer to their home is a good thing for many reasons, but until we can give all the schools the resources they need, there will continue to be inequality in outcomes.

Voting closed 5

It is not just the schools.
The schools largely reflect the order/ chaos surrounding them, so when home and neighborhood life is safe/ calm / stable, it is not surprising that families from that area bring the same qualities to school, making it easier to learn. Similarly, when home or neighborhoods are chaotic/ unsafe, the issues surrounding that are brought to school and reflected in school life/quality.

It is a problem that some schools have to be everything to some students. I am glad they can be the lifeline, but for those schools, education takes a back seat to simply proving order.

And yes, some places some teachers just need to stop teaching, and it is about what quality is offered, but largely, schools where parents are involved constructively, the quality is higher.

The BPS budget is $1 billion dollars. There is a lot of money in the system. The problems are not just about funding.

Voting closed 18