The discussion came one day after the release of the state’s latest report on Boston schools, which tracked the district’s progress since 2020 in addressing a series of critical shortcomings. The review, part of an ongoing process of state oversight, found a few encouraging results, but mostly highlighted wide swaths of continuing stagnation, intensifying fears that the state’s next step will be to seize control of local schools, as it has done elsewhere in the state.
For now at least, the state’s approach appears to be gentler than some had feared. Board members — who would need to vote to approve a state receivership — appeared in no hurry to call the question. Several acknowledged the passionate opposition to receivership voiced by students, parents, teachers and elected officials who testified at the meeting, and some expressed doubt that a full state takeover could work in the face of such aversion.
James Morton, the vice chairman, said the goal should be a “negotiated plan to address six or seven critical core needs,” undertaken “with a collaborative spirit.” Board member Paymon Rouhanifard, a former superintendent in Camden, N.J., invoked the impact of “decades of institutional racism” in the current state of BPS, and called for a sensitive approach.
“I think you can pathologize a community, and [impact] young people,” he said. “To do it delicately is the task at hand.”
Josiehanna Colon, a student at New Mission High School who testified Tuesday, said she has felt the impact of state oversight. Too much of her education has been centered around standardized testing, she said; further intervention would likely bring more emphasis on tests and less diverse curriculum. “I’m angry that our voices may be ignored,” she said, “and that again and again we care about a test score instead of a child.”