For Immediate Release
May 07, 2013
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Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today testified before the Joint Committee on Education on his proposal to boost student achievement. The Mayor’s proposal would extend “turn-around” powers to Level 3 schools, eliminate the cap on In-District charters, and extend the school day. The bill is H529 – An Act Promoting Public School Success – sponsored by former Representative Marty Walz.
“We should not have to wait for a school to fail before we give it the tools to succeed,” Mayor Menino said. “I encourage this Committee to move quickly on this important legislation. I would tell you I have 8 months left to make this happen – but that’s too long. Our kids need action today.”
In his testimony, Mayor Menino acknowledged the handful of education reform bills before the Committee, and said he would support any bill that extends “turn-around” powers to more schools and allows for the creation of more In-District charter schools.
Under current state law, a school must be designated as a lowest-performing, or Level 4, school before being given expanded tools and flexibility to improve quality. Mayor Menino’s proposal would afford this flexibility in the Level 3 schools that make up about 50 percent of the District’s total. Boston’s 11 Turnaround Schools, identified as underperforming in 2010, have shown dramatic improvement and higher-than-average growth. With longer school days, quality school teachers and leaders, as well as extra time for teacher training and support, 44 percent more families selected these schools as a top choice than just three years earlier.
By eliminating the cap on In-District charter schools, as well as the union’s veto power on these schools’ renewals, the Mayor’s legislation would provide charters with the utmost flexibility in boosting student achievement and promoting innovative curriculum. The administrative process for the application, approval and management of In-District charter schools would also be streamlined.
Today, the City’s In-District charter schools are able to offer longer days and high standards. Last year, students at UP Academy Charter School of Boston showed some of the fastest growth in the state. And, the City’s Innovation School tools are allowing existing schools to transform into centers for excellence with flexibilities that help ensure rapid, positive change.
Mayor Menino also issued a challenge to charter school operators in attendance: “Come take over a BPS school and make it an In-District charter. You’ll have the building, you’ll be able to teach the kids who are already in the school, and they won’t have to wait for something better. Just promise that you’ll educate all of our kids, in the schools that need you now, and we are ready to move.”