The toxic atmosphere around charter schools in Massachusetts was largely absent from a School Committee election forum this week, but criticisms of public school failures around race and academic achievements were prominent.
A near-total rewrite of the school district’s “Rights and Responsibilities Handbook” and Cambridge Rindge & Latin School student handbook for 2017-18 – neither of which most students have ever seen – was urged by School Committee members Tuesday.
Indigenous People’s Day will officially replace Columbus Day on the district’s school calendar after the School Committee voted Tuesday to make the change. It follows a City Council decision in June 2016 to change the holiday held the second Monday in October.
The committee vowed to do ’anything in our power to protect the ‘Dreamers’ among us,” following a motion by Mayor E. Denise Simmons, using a nickname for the nearly 800,000 young people granted temporary legal U.S. residency via an Obama-era program.
The high school’s athletic director acknowledged a “systems breakdown” leading to unequal experiences for some male and female student athletes, but said the school was taking steps to correct the unintentional – and unknown – legal violations.
With several thousand new housing units due in the Alewife, NorthPoint and Kendall Square neighborhoods, School Committee members noted that if even 10 percent of those units have one child, that’s easily two schools’ worth of students.
“I’m looking for more of a plan. I don’t have enough to adopt for right now,” the mayor said, asking for a roundtable meeting in July at which the School Committee could get deeper into the details. “I want to vote when it’s finished.”
Superintendent Kenneth Salim presented his three-year “district plan” to a variety of audiences in recent days, finding support f0r the broad, overarching concepts, but worries about the details.
Immigrant families were assured Tuesday of their “protection and safety” from federal agents by the school district, one of several issues looked at Tuesday by the School Committee.
Parents at two struggling schools were worried how help from the district would continue into the new budget and next school year, and now that the budget has been approved, members of the School Committee are still trying to figure it out.