The mayoral campaign has exposed a vein of public discontent with the Boston Public Schools — and with the School Committee that supervises the system. While the seven-member appointed panel has outperformed the elected one that it replaced two decades ago, the committee needs members who will exercise stronger, more independent oversight. That, in turn, can only happen if thoughtful candidates step forward quickly.
Friday is the application deadline for those wishing to fill up to three openings on the School Committee. This month, departing mayor Tom Menino is expected to fill one seat. Menino is keeping his hands off two others, those held by Mary Tamer, the only member with a child in the system, and BU education dean Hardin Coleman. Both have been excellent members. But their terms expire Jan. 6, the first day in office for the new mayor, and the decision whether to reappoint them rightfully belongs to the mayor-elect.
The stakes are especially high right now, as the board approaches the selection of a new superintendent. Upcoming changes to the new student assignment plan will also require keen attention. That’s precisely why parents of BPS students should make special note of the application deadline. They have the closest view of the system’s strengths and weaknesses. And the road to improvement would be blurry indeed without their perspective.