What is Worth $1 Million?

A middle school serving some of Boston’s most vulnerable students faces a $1 million budget cut. Teacher Adina Schecter reflects on what that says about the city and its priorities…

By Adina Schecter
It is 6:45am and I’ve just pulled into the parking lot of the McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, MA.  I can already hear our sixth, seventh and eighth graders entering the building, their chattering voices somewhere between childhood and adulthood. This morning, like every morning, the staff at the McCormack—teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and City Year corps members—are lined up outside to greet each student individually. Once inside, students make their way to the cafeteria for a hot breakfast. Many of them depend on our school for two meals a day. The staff at the McCormack understands that the best way to get our students ready to learn is to make sure they have food in their bellies and personal attention from an adult who cares.  

But the McCormack, a traditional Boston Public School that serves a diverse group of middle school students, faces a budget reduction of more than a million dollars next year.  We have serious concerns about our school’s fate.  Already lacking the resources to meet the complex needs of our students, my colleagues and I now fear for the survival of our school community, and for our students who are losing high-quality teachers and programs. Continue reading →

As Long As We’re Silent, Nothing Will Change

Boston students walk out and speak up…

bpswalkout6What’s that, reader? I’m afraid you’ll have to speak up. I’m surrounded by 2,000+ Boston students who are screaming *student power* and *no cuts* at the top of their young lungs. Pissed off over proposed cuts to their schools, the students walked out of their classrooms and into the streets yesterday for the biggest student protest in recent memory. My goal was to talk to as many of them as possible in order to get a sense of how they see the city’s increasingly bitter school wars. I came armed with my tape recorder and lots of questions: like why did so may of their signs seem to disparage Mayor Marty Walsh by name? And since so many grown ups agree that charter schools rule, shouldn’t we just have more of those? And, come on, who’s really behind this??? Fortunately the students I talked to—from 15 different Boston high schools—were eager to share their thoughts. Shall we hear from some of them now?  Continue reading →

Putting Students First (Whether They Like It Or Not)

Why won’t these Philly students let us put them first?

Putting students first is THE civil rights issue of our time. So what to do when students don’t seem to want to be put first but instead demand to remain in their union-stifled public schools and even want to continue to be taught by their union-stifled teachers? Alas, putting students first is so fiercely urgent that we can’t afford to give students the choice of whether or not they want to be put first. These quick and easy steps will put students first—whether they like it or not. Continue reading →