Grounded in the following four values, a healthy educational ecosystem for Boston is:
1. Driven by an inclusive balance of family and student voice.
A healthy ecosystem features many voices, and counterbalancing groups that have healthy dialogues about what is best for a variety of stakeholders, especially when it comes to major system decisions with far-reaching implications. Today, that voice exists only for a few, select groups, and often excludes students, families, and the organizations that partner with them.
Families and students, especially our Black and Latinx students, students with disabilities, and English learners, are the true constituents of the city’s schools. Thus, their values, aspirations, and needs are at the center of the system’s vision and design. There is intentional, authentic engagement with families and students, particularly those who have been the most negatively impacted by our current systems.
2. Bound to political accountability.
Our system’s leaders are accountable for putting forth a vision and aligned activities and initiatives for Boston’s education system that address the systemic challenges we face today and reflect the aspirations of students and families. This plan is public and transparent, and progress is tracked openly.
Political accountability for education is apparent when our city’s mayor knows that the health of the education system will directly impact their ability to get elected; education and political leaders set clear quantitative goals and report on progress toward those goals; education and political leaders know that they cannot make important educational decisions without meaningfully consulting the community (students, families, educators, community-based organizations); education and political leaders are transparent and consistent about who is responsible for what; and data on key opportunity and outcome indicators are easily accessible to all constituents.
3. Resourced interdependently with other key city sectors.
In the run up to the mayoral election, education has resurfaced as a key issue among Boston voters, trailing behind housing and racial justice — but these issues are not mutually exclusive from one another. Education has historically been the pivot point for children’s access to opportunity and economic mobility later in life — and a child’s zip code, race, family income, or individual school budget should not be the limiting determinants of his or her future success.
4. Fully invested in school leaders, teachers, and all supporting staff and partners.
With a strong leadership vision, the resources and accountability for implementation would be led by schools and school communities. They have the most impact on student learning and they create the conditions for nurturing children. We should have clarity on what excellence and equity looks like for these roles, and invest in them deeply to ensure that all students have access to the highest quality leaders, teachers, and supporting professionals who reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of the students and families served..