The citizens of Massachusetts spoke loudly and clearly on November 8 when they overwhelmingly rejected Question 2. They don’t want more charter schools. They want strong and well-resourced public schools.
But the state of Massachusetts and the Boston school superintendent Tommy Chang have decided to close Mattahunt Elementary School despite the pleas of the parents and the local community.
The state Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester has threatened to take over the school, although state takeovers have seldom been successful at improving schools. Boston superintendent Chang says that the only way to save the school is to close it. Read that sentence over two or three times and see if it makes any sense to you. It reminds me of the saying during the Vietnam War that “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” This is insane.
Test scores are low. Kids are poor. Why not come up with a strategy to improve the school? Chang, who worked for John Deasy’s in Los Angeles, seems to have no idea how to help the school other than to close it. Neither does Mitchell Chester.
Citizens for Public Schools writes:
Does Boston have to close a school to save its children from suffering harm at the hands of the state?
That startling question was the focus of nearly four hours of passionate debate last week, pitting 100 parents and other supporters of the Mattahunt School against Superintendent Tommy Chang.
In the end, the School Committee voted to close the school at the end of June to head off state takeover, even after parents said they were willing to take the risk and would join with the School Committee in fighting for their school.
The Mattahunt students are 95 percent Black and Latino, and over 25 percent English language learners. Many come from Haiti and have already experienced trauma and instability. School Department officials said 17 of the students came to the Mattahunt from other schools that the department closed.
“You would never do this in a white community,” said Peggy Wiesenberg, a white parent who came to support the Mattahunt parents…
All sides agreed that state intervention would be a tragedy for the children. Speakers said the state takeover of the Dever and Holland schools had hurt the children in those schools, using terms like “disaster.”
Have public officials in charge of education in Massachusetts lost their minds? Why would they close a school to avoid a state takeover that everyone agrees would be a disaster? Would they do this in a white neighborhood? Why are they treating these children like they are inanimate objects? Like they don’t matter? Like their well-being is unimportant? They are not doing this for the kids. Why are they doing it? What is the point? This is not education reform. This is community destruction and child abuse.
Where is the accountability for Mitchell Chester and Tommy Chang? They are guilty of educational malpractice. They should be held accountable.