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.