Equity in Education
As a father and Boston Public Schools teacher, I see the importance of investing in high-quality, equitable public education. Unfortunately, Boston Public Schools does not provide this for all of its students. That is why as Boston City Councilor, I will work with the Boston Teachers Union, human rights groups, parents, and students to advocate for...
Fully Staffed Schools and an Appropriate Student to Teacher Ratio
An appropriate student to teacher ratio is essential for the success of our students. The current ratio is unacceptable. BPS classrooms are overcrowded, leading to students not getting the quality education they deserve. This harms everyone in our schools, from overstressed educators, to our students who are losing out on crucial support. As City Councilor, I will call for a hearing where experts, teachers, parents, and community leaders come together and establish a student-to-teacher ratio based on sound research and community input, which will increase success for all BPS students. From there I will work with unions, parents, students, and community organizations to implement, maintain and fund the appropriate student to teacher ratio.
Education Budget Involvement and Transparency
The success of our students is directly correlated with public investment. The development of our city education budget needs to be transparent and accessible. In addition, the budget for individual schools needs to be public and easily accessible information. I propose the creation of a joint “Budget Education Council.” Composed of community leaders, educators, union members, and students, this council would work to create interactive videos, graphics, and social media that will educate the general public about the budget. From there the Budget Education Council would be tasked with opening the budgeting process to public input, where the community can have a meaningful say in the money and resources that is put towards their schools. We must take our current education budgeting process from the shadows where a select few make decisions, and bring it to the light where the community can have their voices heard.
Publicly Elected School Committee
A committee that is accountable to the families and communities of Boston is essential to an equitable school system. Our current School Committee is beholden to only one person, where the community is consistently ignored and shut out of crucial decisions. Without a fully elected school committee, we can not ensure a school system that benefits all students and families. Our School Committee must be beholden to the community, where our parents, teachers, and students will have a meaningful voice in the direction of our schools. That is why as Boston City Councilor I will advocate for a publicly elected school committee.
Appropriate Aging Out Policy
Boston Public schools are made up of diverse learners. Students begin their educational journey at different times and face barriers that cause them to have interrupted schooling. Unfortunately, this causes some students to be removed from school before they graduate. Some students are a few classes away from earning their high school diploma, but due to a mandatory age rule, which requires students to be removed from school before their 22nd birthday, they are forced to leave their learning community and get their GED. Being transitioned to a GED program adversely affects their learning outcomes by burdening students with additional financial costs, increasing the amount of required classes, and often requiring students to travel further than if they attended their local school. I propose the city of Boston assess every student who is about to age out as an individual, and rely on the recommendation of the school and community. In addition, one of my first acts as Boston City Councilor would be to call a hearing on appropriate aging out policy for special education students in transition programs.
Safe and Supportive Schools
For our schools to be truly healthy we must establish a model of restoration for our school communities. Our schools are full of young people who have a variety of struggles. Our schools need to be a place that provides social and emotional support, especially in the aftermath of COVID. For a student to be successful academically their mental and physical health needs to be addressed. That is why as City Councilor, I will advocate for a nurse in every school, expanding our mental health services, and adopting a curriculum that is representative of our students’ cultural diversity.
Certification Programs, Vocational Programs, and Community College Education
COVID has shown that we must rethink our education model. Boston Public Schools can truly transform our middle schools and high schools into 21st-century career launch pads. As Boston City Councilor, I will work with education policy experts, unions, and local community colleges to develop programs within our upper schools to help students prepare for higher education, the vocational workforce, or the new flourishing creative industries. This will allow youth to explore their interests and will expand their educational opportunities through college level courses and technical programs that current middle and high schools do not offer. In addition, I will push for the expansion of certification programs that can help BPS students be qualified for entry-level salary and union positions.
Actually, Build BPS
BPS facilities are not suitable for 21st-century learners. COVID has shown us that many students go to school in a building that is in desperate need of upgrading and maintenance. I propose a city-wide capital works project, to upgrade and modernize Boston Public School buildings, especially in those communities that have been historically denied public investment. Now is the time to actually build BPS and reject budget cuts and proposed school closures.
An aspect of upgrading our schools has to include renewable energy and green infrastructure. Installing solar panels, updating all of the district’s facilities with new lights, heating and cooling systems, and windows will decrease our carbon footprint and create additional municipal funds to support BPS students directly. Through also implementing composting, gardening, and biking programs in every school, we can cut down on our carbon footprint while promoting sustainable lifestyles for our students.