City, education leaders discuss issue of inequity in Boston Public Schools

BOSTON — City and education leaders in Boston met Tuesday to discuss the issue of inequity in Boston Public Schools.

"There's a lot of choice, but they don't know how to access it," said Latoya Gayle, Executive Director and Founder of Boston School Finder.

Access central to the discussion at the Boston Foundation Tuesday broke down a new action plan for better equity in education for Boston Public School students.

The "Action for Boston children" plan and report was released by City Council President Andrea Campbell back in June to coincide with the hiring of new superintendent Brenda Cassellius. It addresses years of criticism of BPS by students and parents including, lack of accessibility and transparency from central office and other school administration and calls for reorganizing central office for better access to students and parents.

"That access issue. How do you get into a building? How does central office support what's happening on the school level? Because families feel what's happening on the school level and then it goes from babies to high school," said Gayle.

Campbell says 80% of students in downtown Boston and Charlestown attend high-quality or tier 1 schools, compared to just 5% of students in Mattapan.

"We want to reach those who we consider marginalized or non-privileged. The folks who are the majority of our system, black and brown in particular. So that they can review the plan and be in conversation to create change in our system," said Campbell.

The action plan also takes on identifying and defining what equity in Boston Public Schools is and what it isn't.

"Children don't come to us just little children. They come in whole systems. They come in family systems. They come in school systems. And whole community systems. And we really need to alter the systematic level of the inequalities that exist within our system," said Cassellius.

"Every child is able to have the life of their choosing. So when we talk about equity, we talk about opportunity and what opportunities are we providing to kids, so they can go off, when you ask them what do I want to be when I grow up, they can say, whatever I want to be," said Gayle.

Campbell and BPS leaders plan on taking their new plan on the road in communities they impact.

>> MORE from Crystal's Equity in Education series: