I’m disappointed that the authors of a recent op-ed comparing Boston and Lawrence schools would pit one high-need, high-poverty community against another (“It takes more than dollars to fix a broken school system,” Opinion, April 2). And I’m surprised that the authors would show such blatant disregard for the facts.
The basic premise of the op-ed — that Lawrence outperforms Boston with far less money — is simply wrong. Results of the 2018 MCAS show that the communities perform similarly; if anything, Boston has a slight edge. While Boston spends more per student than Lawrence, Boston is one of the most expensive cities in the world; transportation and capital costs alone account for much of the difference.
Students and teachers in Lawrence have made progress under difficult circumstances, but the Lawrence “reforms” the authors praise aren’t a magical fix for resource-starved urban school systems. The main so-called innovation in Lawrence has been forcing teachers to work inordinate hours for meager pay, leading to unsustainably high rates of teacher burnout and turnover.
Students in both Boston and Lawrence have tremendous needs that our school funding system has failed to address for years. Instead of dividing these communities, let’s make a real difference by fully funding our public schools.
American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts
AFT Massachusetts is the parent organization of both the Boston Teachers Union and the Lawrence Teachers Union.