A FRONT-PAGE article on Dec. 12 pointed out the “quilt of inequity’’ among Boston schools, but your editorials about the school assignment system ignore these inequities, suggesting that the most pressing problem is busing ( “School-assignment plan — a relic in need of a full overhaul,’’ Dec. 13; “Let students stay near homes — but offer choice as needed,’’ Dec. 14). The real issues, however, are ensuring equitable access to high-quality schools and eliminating persistent racial and programmatic achievement gaps.
The editorials assume that, instead of the current three-zone system, there can be equal access to quality schools in a 12-zone system. No plan has done this. Roxbury gems such as the Mason and Orchard Gardens are highlighted, but they are few and far between. Even if all Roxbury schools were high-performing, there are still more Roxbury school-aged children than actual seats. Fact, not myth.
The editorials fail to address the importance of community engagement in developing plans. It’s not a matter of holding a series of meetings. Multiple options must be presented early. Parents want to understand how the plans affect access to quality schools for their children.
People are not stuck on the segregation issue; they are stuck on quality. Should student assignment be improved? Absolutely. Can there be savings? Most likely. But the issue here is equal access to high-quality schools. Any plan that increases inequities is unacceptable.
Kim M. Janey
Senior project director
Boston School Reform Project
Massachusetts Advocates for Children