Friday, July 23, 2010

WBUR story on the Mendell's turnaround

I'm pretty late to the party with this one, but it's still worth a mention. WBUR had a story this week on the turnaround of the Mendell school. It's called, "The Year the White Kids Came." The story is really worth a read or listen. Many of the reader comments at the end are just as valuable as the story itself.

The school is getting a new principal this fall, but parents got to help select her.

1 comment:

massappeal said...

Thanks for linking to this story.

I want to emphasize a point made in the comments on the other site, and make an additional point.

First, schools don't succeed or fail because they are "neighborhood schools". That's true in Boston. It's true in other big cities. It's true in the suburbs. It's true in rural areas.

There are good neighborhood schools and bad neighborhood schools. There are good zoned schools and bad zoned schools. There are good citywide schools and bad citywide schools. There are good charter schools and bad charter schools. There are good private schools and bad private schools. There's nothing special about neighborhood schools---unless you want to make sure your child doesn't go to school with kids who don't live in your neighborhood.

Second, my child was part of the 2% of white kids at the Haley in 2004, and it was a good school then. It had a terrific principal (since retired). It had a very good staff of teachers (better overall, in my experience, than Boston Latin School). And it had excellent paraprofessionals.

The Haley's MCAS scores have gone up since "the year the white kids came". (Actually, the Haley's MCAS scores went up "the year the white kids entered third grade".)

That's because most of the white kids came from houses with middle-class, college-educated parents. And one of the things MCAS---like most standardized tests---does best is measure the socioeconomic status of those being tested.