Boston College Citizen Seminar: June 9, 2009
sponsored by the chief executives' club of boston
Menino: More charter schools
Mayor to file legislation to help students receive better educations
Mayor Thomas Menino announced yesterday he will file legislation aimed at transforming the city's lowest performing public schools into "in-district" charter schools.
In a speech delivered before high-powered executives at the Boston College Citizen Seminar Luncheon, Menino expressed a new-found support for charter schools he hopes will provide flexibility needed at the Mayor Thomas Menino bottom levels of the education system.
"I am frustrated with the pace of our progress, especially in our low performing schools," Menino said.
Staff at he new schools would be able to unionize, but no union sign-off is necessary. Flexible work rules would be in place to attract top-notch teachers and school days would be tailored to students' needs.
If the bill fails to pass, Menino still plans to lift the funding cap on charter schools to allow for more students to enroll, and provide performance pay for teachers who elicit improved results at the lowest performing schools.
Menino has been reluctant to back charter schools in the past, which divert state funds from the city school system.
A day before his about-face, City Councilors Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty - Menino's chief competition in September's mayoral election - proposed education plans favorable to charter schools.
The Mayor did not comment on any political motive, but said support from Washington has fueled a philosophical shift - President Barack Obama has pledged $5 billion in grants to low performing schools that turn things around.
"If there is five billion out htere I want to make sure Bosotn has the ability to raise those low performance grade schools," Menino said.
Article by Tony Lee, Metro, June 9, 2009