Letters

Letters | BOSTON’S SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT MAZE

Any plan that ignores inequity is unacceptable

 The Boston Public Schools’ East Zone Family Resource Center in Dorchester was packed in early September with families trying to get a school assignment, months after the lottery and days before the start of school.
david l ryan/globe staff
The Boston Public Schools’ East Zone Family Resource Center in Dorchester was packed in early September with families trying to get a school assignment, months after the lottery and days before the start of school.

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.

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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.

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Kim M. Janey

Senior project director

Boston School Reform Project

Massachusetts Advocates for Children

Boston