City Councilor John Tobin, who represents West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and parts of Roslindale and Mission Hill, had the pleasure of going through the BPS lottery for K1 with the rest of us this year.
And his child is unassigned.
He writes in the Allston-Brighton Tab, that he and his spouse were "outraged and disappointed," like other unassigned parents. "We believe in public education. We entered the BPS lottery with high hopes and were excited about our choices. We were not looking for special treatment. We wanted a seat in a quality school near our home."
In the past, Tobin has advocated for more K1 seats in the city. In 2004, when BPS was reexamining its assignment policy, he asked BPS "to increase the number of students allowed to walk to neighborhood schools from 50 to 100 percent. Once local kids had a chance to enroll, the remaining seats would be opened to children citywide." Obviously, that didn't happen. We're still at 50% walk zone.
Now, he calls for transparency in the lottery system, like holding the lottery in public, similar to what charter schools do. He also calls for a return to neighborhood schools (The city currently spends about $77 million on busing students around the city):
"The simple truth is the assignment system must change if we want families to stay in Boston. I am again calling on Mayor Thomas Menino to create a system that allows children to go to school in their own neighborhood. In the meantime, the Tobins and many other Boston families will go back to the drawing board and develop a back-up plan."
I wish his family luck and hope some positive change can come from his experience.