BPS says late kindergarten placements due to state rules

Being a BPS parent is never easy, and this year is no exception, with placements for seats in K2 classes now not due until May 31 - well past similar private-school decisions and placements for pre-school students. A BPS spokesman points to state requirements for English-language proficiency, but some parents are not happy with the answer:

Because of recently-imposed rules from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, incoming kindergarten (K2) students cannot be tested for English language skills earlier than March 1 of the school year they will begin attending school. This recent implementation has pushed back the enrollment dates for incoming kindergarten students in Boston Public Schools.

He points us to a state guide on student assignments

Meredith Hanna, a West Roxbury resident, however, says she is frustrated by a school system she wants to her child to be in:

Access to good schools is critical building strong communities. Residents value good schools, while businesses increasingly recognize that good public schools provide the quality of life that allow firms to attract and retain good employees. But all the work of teachers and administrators is wasted if parents don’t have the opportunity to enroll their children. This is the current situation in the City of Boston where delays in Kindergarten placement have frustrated parents and forced them to consider suburban homes or private schools.

The City of Boston has the data to know how many Kindergarten slots are needed, and in which neighborhoods. Instead, parents in Boston are still waiting to learn where Kindergarten students will go to school. State law requires children be in school by the age of six.

The delay in announcing Kindergarten placements - now expected three months after most private schools in the city have made their decisions - seems a deliberate attempt to reduce public school enrollment. And the impact of this will last for the next 13 years when the children could have been attending public schools. This is a failed process that will result in more schools closing and elimination of teaching positions in the BPS. And how can decisions about 4 year-old Kindergarten be released months before decisions for 5 year-olds that matter more?

If Boston as a city, and the Boston Public Schools, seek to foster economic and community development, strengthen the knowledge-base industries, and avoid another rush to the suburbs of families with school aged children, the BPS initial placement system must be reformed. The process must be completed at least a month before most private school decision are made - this is a common sense approach that will help our city with little new cost - just more effective processing.

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Apres moi le deluge

“But all the work of teachers and administrators is wasted if parents* don’t have the opportunity to enroll their children. “

*parents who have the coin to send their kids to private school

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Voting is closed. 54

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

There was this one clown who ran for office who talked about going to every single school in the city to listen to what the parents wanted. The clown asked all of the elected officials at every public debate if they would commit to such a preposterous idea of actually visiting the schools where 40% of their budget goes to find out what is actually going on in those schools and what the parents, students and teachers needed. Of course none of the respected elected officials would ever agree to such a ridiculous idea.

All is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds

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Voting is closed. 54

It's important that the Boston schools

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attract those families with money to send their kids to private school as well as those who don't. Those are the people who can afford to spend some of the money that would have gone to private school tuition on their kids' public school, to the benefit of all the kids there.

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Voting is closed. 50

Big difference

There are orders of magnitude between the amount that parents give to public schools and the amount it costs to send kids to private school hereabouts. Rich parents flatter themselves if they think the schools only stay open on their sufferance.

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Voting is closed. 39

Sincere question for parents of kindergartners

Our country was crap in 2012. Why would you breed a kid and then hope that the education that somebody else pays for in addition to you would be available, let alone any good?

If unintentional, is access to contraception that bad in this community?

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Voting is closed. 39

Well, Willie

Sometimes when a man and a woman love each other very much...

Oh, never mind. You wouldn’t understand.

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Voting is closed. 65

This is what's top of your mind?

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Maybe 2012 was crap for you personally, but 2012 was not bad for a lot of people.

When were you born? I'm sure it was a really crappy year. Did your parents have access to contraception? If so, why didn't they use it?

Jesus, can't you learn to count to ten before you post?

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Voting is closed. 96

Let's pick this apart

Maybe 2012 was crap for you personally, but 2012 was not bad for a lot of people.

2012 was okay for me. My house didn't get foreclosed, and in fact, I got a better job than the one I had. Was sure as hell better than my 2018.

My point was about the quality of American education. Seems to me it's been awful for decades.

When were you born? I'm sure it was a really crappy year.

1983. We had Duran Duran and Eddie Murphy. Legit.

Did your parents have access to contraception? If so, why didn't they use it?

Yes, and I really couldn't tell you. Maybe they "loved each other" or something and wanted to express that by creating me. Maybe they thought the world was great in 1983.

I think the world is terrible in 2018. I wouldn't inflict today's humanity on somebody who doesn't exist yet.

Jesus, can't you learn to count to ten before you post?

I did. I went to kindergarten and learned how to do that. I would have posted my question if I had gone to 1,000.

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Voting is closed. 39

How droll

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Please don't add additional comments unless they're specifically related to K2 assignment practices in the city of Boston. Thanks.

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Voting is closed. 62

I have a question...

First one is, how come Spanish Clown is speaking French? I knew he was bi, but is he tri? LINGUAL, get your mind out of the gutter.

Second question. The guidance cited is a State report 109 pages long, so the hell with that, but...if it's called the guide to student assignments in the Commonwealth or some such title, does it not apply to ALL the schools in the Commonwealth?

Why is it that Boston is so much later if it applies equally?

If it does not apply equally, why the hell not?

I have no kids going into kindergarten, but if I did, I'd be asking these questions.

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Voting is closed. 48

What a baby

Oh, the world isn't perfect now? The world is demonstrably better than it was when we were kids in terms of global poverty, global health, threat of nuclear war, etc... Sure there are problems, many of them deep and difficult but if you think this is a hopeless world, go hop in a deep freeze with Ted Williams head and wait it out.

To sit in Boston and cry about how maybe the schools could be better or whatever and to pull the sad Eyeore act is pathetic. Kids have never had access to the width and depth of information they have now and this city is full of people trying very hard in both BPS and charter schools to single handedly counter-attack a lot of very deep societal challenges which have been dumped on them to solve.

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Voting is closed. 47

You're 35???!!!

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And already longing for the good old days and telling people to get offa yer lawn!?

It's likely to be a long strange journey my friend.

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Voting is closed. 57

Simple

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You can’t predict the future that way. To whit, the country was in much better shape in 2013 than it was in 2008.

Oh, and go screw yourself.

Signed, the father of a child born in 2012.

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Voting is closed. 61

... uh

Have you asked your parents why they bred you...?

Stick to trivia night at the White Horse... leave any worldly concerns to the rest of the internet.

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Voting is closed. 57

Misguided anger

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First off this was a change last year not this year. We went through this last year when we registered for K2.

I doubted this at the time so I called DESE myself I was told that kindergarteners should not be tested until the end of the school year. It sounds like march is a compromise because most towns do language testing at the end of the year.

For those who want to blame BPS for all of their problems in life and say that they're making it hard to decide between private school and public school I just have one thing to say-I'm so glad that you have the ability to make that choice. Not all of us do.

Sincerely, a proud BPS parent

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Voting is closed. 58

I would like to be a proud BPS parent, but can’t get in.

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Our child didn’t get into school across the street last year, and waiting until nearly summer to know where we assigned for K2 makes planning life for a 5 year old difficult-
where will we be going at 4pm? Or 5pm?
Or if dismissal at 1:30, can we find/afford a suitable after school program?
Can same parent swing daycare and school pickup? Try to adjust work schedules?

These things require planning and cause real anxiety.

Or do we stop fighting the tide and leave the city we love for the sake of avoiding BPS chaos in our kids’ lives? Other districts don’t pass the buck like BPS - If BPS need to evaluate languages not before March 1, get at it! March is over.

I could have done the lottery by hand in the time since the deadline.

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Voting is closed. 69

Anxiety and planning

Yes, that's the point, isn't it? It's not precisely true that you "can't get in." You can. Your child will be assigned a school. It's likely to be one you ranked. But trying to figure out when you need to be there for child taxi services is driving you nuts.

There are "full-day" kindergarten seats for all the kids in Boston. That's more than the law requires, and more than most places have. But, continued busing (aka choice) being what it is, you can't count on the school nearest your house, and you don't get to control where or when your kid goes. Yes, that causes anxiety, and planning for a level of care previous generations did not require is difficult given this uncertainty.

There's a lack of fit between the requirements of the city schools and the requirements of most parents. The school district requires all the state laws regarding placement and in-school services, and all the extra rules the lottery adds on, to be met. This can take a lot of time if the rules keep changing. Parents require predictability of start time, end time, busing, etc. mostly so they can coordinate all the care their kids may need before and after school in families with no stay-at-home parents.

Exaggerating the problem doesn't help it go away. Trying to figure out exactly how the problem came about probably won't either, but that's where my mind goes.

When I was a kid, it was either you had a stay at home parent or you were a "latchkey kid;" there was no such thing as an afterschool program. How did we get from then to now, when the idea that kids could take care of themselves, or each other, from an early age is so scandalous it's almost illegal? How do we get back? Likewise, is there any way to get back to a society where all the kids in the neighborhood can walk to school together, safe in numbers, instead of being bused willy-nilly around the city at random hours? Probably not.

But could there be a way to mandate an hour until which every public elementary school in the city must guarantee after-care? That would help parents not freak out at the idea their child will be shoved on a bus at 1:30.

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Voting is closed. 41

Not a compromise

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You can click on the link to read the guidance document but it clearly states no earlier than March. That date is not a compromise.

Last year the round 1 k2 notifications went out the second week of April - 7 weeks earlier than they will this year.

Nowhere in this article did I read the person complain that BPS caused "all" their life's problems. Could you read it as a little entitled? Maybe you could take it that way but I don't think that means we just dismiss the concern of late notification.
Criticizing someone because they have a choice isn't a valid argument.

For a person who doesn't have a choice, or a flexible job, getting an assignment at the end of May can be difficult. Not knowing location, bus times, start/end times leaves a lot of unknowns to figure out in 3 months. It's not impossible but it sure makes it harder when you're already spending all your energy just to get by to then have to figure out arrangements for drop off and pick up (especially when you have no family around) and hope your boss allows you to adjust your hours. And then, if you need before or after school care, it's not like all the affordable options just leave openings until the last minute. Choice or not, it can be difficult for a family to handle within 12 weeks. It would be beneficial for all families to have more time to plan. However, if it's the law, it's the law.

Happy to hear you're a proud BPS parent. I can understand why! We have many wonderful schools, and superb communities. All of my kids have received an amazing education thus far. However, I also think we can be even greater and believe our families deserve transparency (even when we don't like the answer) from the administration so I appreciate parents/caregivers asking questions (so thank you for calling DESE and asking questions).

It is possible to be proud, and strive to be better at the same time.

- proud BPS parent and graduate.

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Voting is closed. 53

Nonsense

A pure shame.
Seems to me that the city knew about these antics by the state well before October.
None of these fools in the city knew to speak up beforehand? While the state was in closed doors deciding this?
Shame on the state for implementing this rule without city imput.

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Voting is closed. 58

Thank you!

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Thanks for keeping this! Yes, this is not new so it's unclear how we got from April 7 to May 31?

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Voting is closed. 51

When was this change?

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The document they link to is from October 2017 and it does not list the March date as a change. In fact, Massachusetts DOE had the same time frame last year, which is why we don't see other districts making changes. Can BPS tell us the actual date of this change, other than "recent"?

There appears to be a pattern of BPS telling us one thing, while the truth is another. A simple email to the DOE will confirm "the assessment window for upcoming K students has not changed. Incoming K students cannot be screened earlier than March of the school year they will start kindergarten...". It's unclear why BPS is pegging the delay on Kindergarten seats on testing for ELL students - maybe they are just looking for an excuse, maybe they've been doing it wrong for the past 5 years and violating the 2012 DOJ ruling for ELL students and are just getting around to fixing it, who knows. What is clear is an email to the department of education will confirm there has been no changes to the assessment period for incoming kindergarteners. And it's clear that each of these untruths wears away at the trust parents and caregivers have in BPS administration.

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Voting is closed. 48

read my post

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I called DESE myself and confirmed this. Every other town in the country does language testing at or close to the end of the school year. BPS has been testing early and DESE made them change last year not this year.

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Voting is closed. 49

I read your post (and the guidance document)

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Your post also says that they have to do testing by the end of the school year and chose March as a compromise. This is incorrect. They cannot begin testing before the start of March due to the fidelity of the testing. That is why March is the date (and I have correspondence from BPS confirming this). Read my post - I also called DESE and have an email from DESE confirming they've made no changes to the assessment window and I've also read the guidance document. The concern isn't that we're not following the guidelines now, but that if there has been no change to timeline by DESE and it was always March (which is why no other district is scrambling to make changes, even those with similar student populations - feel free to call te superintendents office in Fall River, Worcester, New Bedford to confirm) why is Boston making changes and pointing to this document as the reason why? Where we doing it wrong before? If so, that would be concerning given we had a 2012 DOJ ruling about our assessment of ELL students.

And since we get money "per student", it does matter if families with choice leave our system. Less money will be allocated to the schools who have reduced enrollment and then kids like mine, who stay, loose resources. We can all act insulted by people who point out they have a choice but the fact is, less kids = less money so I'd selfishly prefer that people choose to stay in the system.

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Voting is closed. 54

BPS is good and getting better

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Every time there's a bureaucratic screwup, middle class moms from West Roxbury and JP go nuclear and claim the City is trying to destroy its own school system for unknown nefarious reasons. These claims are unfounded and narcissistic. Those of us who have been dealing with the system for a long time are used to these bumps in the road and roll with them. It's not good, but they are far fewer than they used to be and BPS is way more responsive than it used to be. We expect more now and generally we get more. It's good to keep the pressure on, but it doesn't help to constantly accuse school officials of bad faith.

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Voting is closed. 49

Out of curiosity

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What does language-level have to do with school assignments? School assignments are usually based on age and geography.

Even then, can't BPS do an informal language assessment in December, then do school assignments in February, and then do a formal language assessment in March? That should work for 80% of students that are not ESL or ELL.

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Voting is closed. 43

Pretty clear what they are doing here

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They don't want families in Boston using the schools.

If they fix the school system, people with agency will move to Boston, take advantage of the plentiful supply of family-size units, and not move out in disgust when they get to kindergarten.

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Voting is closed. 38

BPS faked the moon landing

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BPS is definitely trying to reduce their enrollment and send kids to charter schools. I read it on Facebook....there's this person who is really good at googling things so I trust everything they say. Turns out BPS is purposely doing things like this so that parents take their students to charters and their enrollment drops. Totally makes sense.

P.S. BPS needs to stop with this whole "globe" nonsense. The Earth is flat.

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Voting is closed. 42