One reason the lobbying began so quickly in my opinion is that unlike the BPS proposals, which are really just a set of maps with no explanations given of how they would work, the Quality Choice Plan is well-written and seems to give parents what they are asking for in an assignment plan.
All those who helped draft the QC proposal should be commended for the work put into it as it has some great suggestions. I am sending my questions and requests for information and data to Councillors Connolly and O'Malley as well as Rep. Ed Coppinger et al and hope to have some of these answers soon to share with everyone.
It is interesting to note that the QC plan was presented the day after school officials announced that they would be discussing their proposals for "grandfathering" of current students at the next night's School Committee meeting and just hours before said School Committee meeting was due to start.
Let me start off by saying the following:
- My children are not affected by the proposals as they are in middle and high school now, so my interest is as an advocate for quality education for all children;
- With plans like these I like to fully analyze the ramifications;
- I want to know all the details and cost/savings analysis of any plans;
- I am not currently supporting any of the plans as none of the proposals have the nitty-gritty details and numbers outlined clearly for full evaluation and analysis that needs to be done;
- I do believe that we will absolutely have a new assignment policy in Boston and it will most likely be a "compromise" plan made up of pieces of the BPS proposals and pieces of some of the community plans offered along with the feedback BPS is hearing from families now via school committee, community meetings, emails and the online survey.
Karen Kast Okay - don't shoot me, I have only read the breakdown and can't read this in-depth until much later, but as nice as it looks on paper and in theory, there are some of the same issues with this plan as with the current proposals by BPS, and the suggestions (through the FAQ sheet) for how to address those are nice ideas, but may not be do-able. I appreciate John & Matt et al putting this together, but I think we all need to take some time and read this closely and be realistic about what can and can not actually happen - both for John's proposal and for BPS.... just my two cents on it SO FAR (I COULD totally change my mind with time to read and study it in-depth)
In response to a request for what issues I saw initially:
I admit, the same concerns I initially had regarding the Quality Choice Plan in the above posts still stand and I will further outline my questions, concerns and observations through this series of articles. I hope this helps others think about ALL of the current proposals: the 5 offered by BPS, the Quality Choice plan and the other four plans submitted by community members to date.Karen Kast I agree with X's post above because at the heart of all of this is the fact that money needs to be invested and ALL the plans will need more than what the transportation savings would actually allow for. Additionally, realistically, there is no way anyone can guarantee a K-8 seat unless we do put in place the feeder model proposed by BPS at the same time as instituting this plan. With the addition of citywide options that will also mean still providing busing for more than just SWD; then there is the issue of looking at the 4 elementary schools closest to my chosen address in Roslindale, and luckily all being great schools, even with 100% walk-zone model (which also is not legally possible due to laws pertaining to SWD) the four schools do not have the capacity for all the children I know live in that area; modular classrooms? Guess who will be put in those? SWD & ELL students.....
- Will sibling preference only apply to the CURRENT student (Child A) who is attending the school when the plan is put in place?
- When Child B joins his/her sibling, does Child B then trigger the "grandfathered" sibling preference for subsequent siblings even if not in a home-zone or citywide school?
- Are ALL subsequent siblings of the current student “grandfathered” for sibling preference into the school even after Child A leaves that school (could leave for AWC, Exam school, possible Special Ed placement or graduation)?
- Or, does sibling preference “grandfathering” only apply while Child A is still attending the school?
- The youngest sibling of Child A, let's say Child C, because s/he is "grandfathered" sibling preference based on Child A having a seat when plan was put into effect despite Child A no longer attending the school, Child C gets a seat at said school;
- Potentially this means that a seat is not available for a child whose family is actually in the "home zone" of that school;
- In turn this means that a new student without a sibling attending that school who lives in the school's "home zone" would then need to be placed at one of the three other schools in their "home zone" or a citywide option;
- Unfortunately, all four of the new student's home-zone schools have hundreds of potential students for the same seats and this particular student does not get a seat in any of the four schools;
- Parents of new student find out their child was denied placement at a home-zone school due to a child granted sibling preference whose older sibling was "grandfathered" when the plan was put into place even though the grandfathered student, Child A, is no longer at the school;
- Parents of new student are upset and potentially pull their child from BPS entirely as they do not want the other options offered (same issue as with current policies and BPS proposals).
- New student enters a "home zone" school under new plan the year after enacted and also have siblings 2-3 years younger;
- New students' families are promised sibling preference at home zone schools under new plan;
- When new students siblings are eligible for their guaranteed K-2 seat in that home-zone school there are not enough seats in that school for all children with sibling preference so some siblings do not get their guaranteed seat;
- This leads to the same issues families have with current policies and the new BPS proposals.
For the second part of this series, please see my article here.