Written by Christine Langhoff.
Christine is a lifelong Dorchester resident, a BPS grad, a mother to 3 BPS grads, and a BPS teacher who is happily retired after 36 great years teaching middle and high school students. She believes all students have a right to a fully funded public school education, and wants her neighbors’ kids to enjoy the same great education as she and her family have had.
So, suppose you had a new product to bring to market, and your partners had invested $800,000 in it. The first task you’d have would be to find customers for what you’re selling.
If your product were new, that would mean folks had gotten along in their lives just fine without it, so you would have to disrupt the status quo – their lives – to create a demand for what you’re selling. First you create a problem; then you present the means – your product - for solving it.
Getting your kids assigned to a BPS school is not a walk in the park on a sunny day. The City Council scheduled a hearing on December 5, 2017 to get some answers as to why not:
Turns out that the report on Home Based Assignments is four years overdue. Parents testified to their exasperation at such an opaque, time consuming process. Explanations from the School Department were, um, lacking.
On December 8, the School Department revealed changes to 105 of 125 schools’ schedules, including many with a time shift of up to two hours. When parents objected, one of the “solutions” floated was that they choose a new school assignment for their kids.
The outcry is enormous; parents and teachers give impassioned remarks at 10 meetings across the city, held during Chanukah and in the week leading up to Christmas. All are opposed; no one speaks in favor. The NAACP Boston Branch and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice weigh in; lawsuits are threatened.
Finally, on Friday afternoon before school is dismissed for winter break, Supt. Chang accedes to a moratorium. But, note: the status quo for nearly all families who count on Boston Public Schools has indeed been disrupted, so Mission Accomplished.
“At-large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-
George said the BPS process
undermined parents’ confidence
in the system. The district created
'a mess,’ she said. We have a broken
system. We made it worse. And now
we’re going back to square one.'"
“Outside City Hall on Friday, parent
Rene Bernal said Chang’s
announcement didn’t go far enough.‘
The moratorium from Chang isn’t
the end of the proposal,’ he said
Which brings us back to Problem 1...
...and we need a product to fix it.
And so, introducing BostonSchoolFinder.org.
which is a product of EdNavigator.com.
and EdNavigator is staffed by charter school people and “innovators” and a board of directors.
BostonSchoolFinder.com had a Launch Party at Chez Vous on December 2, 2017.
Here's their Twitter feed:
And, hey, the people who ponied up the $800,000 are retweeting their Tweets:
A member of the Boston School Committee even weighed in with her congratulations.
As did the Boston Compact folks:
Supt. Chang’s Chief of Staff, Rob Consalvo was
in attendance, too:
Those last two tweets come from
a different Twitter account, though;
but the owner of that account got
a shout-out from the $500,000 donor,
so it’s all cool:
In her Twitter bio, Latoya says she is
the founder of Phenomenal Moms, http://pmoms.org, which looks like a website still in construction. It does have
an active Twitter account, whose banner reads: Parent Voice. Parent Power. Parent Advocacy.
(Teachers recognize this MO: Gates’ TeachPlus, which “amplifies” teacher voice – but only that of some teachers. Not those awful union teachers!)
In summary, it looks like the disruption in the lives of the Boston school families over the past two and a half weeks was manufactured to increase demand for this product brought to us by charteristas and wealthy donors.
Parents’ and families’ peace of mind? Just collateral damage.
This blog hopes to disseminate information about Boston Public Schools and what goes on beyond your child's invidual classroom and its brick building.