Thursday, July 15, 2010

Civil rights groups pull out of student assignment process

Three civil rights groups have stopped working with the Boston Public Schools on a new student assignment plan, citing a lack of engagement with the community and slow progress, according to the Boston Globe.
Since the groups began meeting with the district in the fall, there has not been a single open public meeting, although there have been limited focus groups.

The organizations – the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association – recommended that BPS improve communication with the public, confront the city’s history of school desegregation, work state governments and surrounding communities to develop a regional “equity and diversity” plan, the Globe reports.

BPS says it plans to have public meetings in January to gather public input. The school committee would vote on a plan later that year so that a new assignment process could be in place for the 2012-13 school year. At the same time, the district is trying to improve the quality of underperforming schools concentrated in Roxbury and Dorchester and also deciding which schools to close.

The fact that these groups have pulled out gives me pause. I question whether BPS will be able to come up with an equitable plan without their support.

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