June 1, 2020         
LetsGetChecked Debuts FDA EUA-Authorized At-Home Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sure-track Test   •   CHPA Launches Rebranding Effort as Consumer Health Becomes More Vital to Public Health   •   Trulieve Launches Limited Edition Cartridge, Partners with Florida-Based LGBTQ+ Organizations for Pride Month   •   Cedar Fair to Participate June 2nd in the Goldman Sachs 2020 Travel and Leisure Conference, Audio Webcast Available   •   Maine Virtual Academy Celebrates 2020 Graduates in a COVID Era: School Will Provide Pre-Recorded Ceremonies So Families Can Acce   •   Caps and Gowns Go On at Home: iQ Academy Minnesota to Celebrate Class of 2020 with Online Commencement   •   TherapeuticsMD Announces Appointment of James C. D’Arecca as Chief Financial Officer and Retirement of Daniel A. Cartwrigh   •   Sheremetyevo Airport Prioritizes the Needs of Children   •   Auction of Alamo battle relics and Republic of Texas documents takes place June 6   •   Wayfair to Present at the Oppenheimer 20th Annual Consumer Growth and E-Commerce Conference   •   Christopher & Banks Corporation Announces First Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call   •   Finalists Announced for 2020 Braille Challenge Finals   •   RGENIX Shows Clinical Activity of Novel Agent RGX-202 in Patients with KRAS Mutant Colorectal Cancer in Phase 1 Trial   •   Essence Ventures Hires Caroline Wanga as New Chief Growth Officer   •   When Justice Is Unjust: The Black Women's Agenda, Inc. Speaks Out On Racial Inequality   •   Statement from Ministers Carolyn Bennett, Daniel Vandal, Marc Miller and Steven Guilbeault on National Indigenous History Month   •   Center to Advance Palliative Care Statement on Racial Injustice   •   Lucky Brand To Observe Black Out Tuesday; All Stores, Website And Corporate Offices Closed Nationwide   •   Latino Business Action Network Announces 9th Cohort of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education-Scaling Program   •   National Survey: Significant Number of Parents Not Planning to Send Children to Brick and Mortar Schools Due to COVID-19 Concern
Bookmark and Share

Rights Groups Frustrated With Boston Schools

CAMBRIDGE, MA -  It is with great regret that our organizations announce our decision to end formal cooperation with the Boston Public Schools (“BPS”) as the district contemplates whether to design and implement a new student assignment policy. We have reached this decision based on what many perceive as BPS’s lack of meaningful engagement with the community during this process.

In September of 2009, BPS was awarded federal grant funding to engage local parents, students, educators and other constituents in a series of community dialogues to “create a student assignment plan which ensures equitable access to high quality educational services for all students in the City, within racially and ethnically diverse schools and classrooms.”1 BPS’s grant concept was distinct from other Technical Assistance for Student Assignment Plans (“TASAP”) grant proposals because it placed the diversity of voices and perspectives of Boston parents, educators and community members at the center of the student assignment design process. The grant award of $241,680 was to be used, among other things, to seek assistance and expertise from student assignment specialists, demographers, community relations experts, facility and other planners, curriculum specialists, school districts with comparable and relevant experience, academics and researchers, non-profit organizations, civil rights organizations and members of the private sector. The goal was to ensure that district educators and the surrounding community had the tools to design an acceptable student assignment plan. The proposed process appeared to be a departure from what transpired during BPS’s attempted passage of the “Five Zone Plan,” which was strongly opposed by community members earlier in 2009.
BPS’s decision to apply for this grant, the grant concept itself and the subsequent Department of Education (“DOE”) award gave our organizations much hope. As this process has evolved, however, we have developed serious concerns about the pace and vigor of implementation. We also have concerns with the lack of transparency and open communication with the public about how this funding will be used. To our knowledge, there has been little to no public explanation about the purpose of the TASAP grant (namely, that it is specifically designed to aid school districts in the development of student assignment policies that avoid racial isolation and facilitate student diversity). Community members have been largely left on their own to seek out this information. In the absence of clear and purposeful communication, some people have since formed incorrect assumptions about the purpose and use of this sizeable grant.

On March 27, 2010, our organizations hosted The Golden Opportunity Summit (“the Summit”). The idea of the Summit predated the TASAP award. Following the postponement of the School Committee’s vote on student assignment, our organizations felt that the Summit would be a constructive way to contribute. We viewed the Summit as a chance to offer information and resources to BPS, to the public at large and to other interested organizations and individuals. Overall, we were pleased with the presentations and the information presented at the Summit, but we feel BPS missed an opportunity to clearly and effectively communicate the purpose of the TASAP grant and describe the manner by which community members might get involved going forward.
To be sure, a student assignment policy will not address all of the challenges facing the Boston Public Schools and the communities of which the schools are a part. However, if well-designed and accompanied by an open, inviting process of communication and deliberation, a new student assignment policy could at least open up lines of communication and be a promising beginning toward addressing longstanding challenges. We believe that anything short of full engagement around issues of equity and diversity will not serve the community well.
As we end our formal involvement, our organizations remain hopeful about the potential of this student assignment design process. We continue to believe that Boston can be a national leader on these issues, and hope that the TASAP process will help illuminate the path. Accordingly, we offer the attached recommendations, which we believe can guide the district toward the development of a fair, equitable student assignment plan and invite longer-term exploration of challenges that require more than just the commitment of local educators, but that call for a steadfast commitment from government officials and policymakers at the local, state and federal level; parents and community leaders; philanthropists and others who have concern for the children of Boston. In addition to these recommendations, we encourage stakeholders to take advantage of the student assignment resources that are housed on the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute’s website at http://www.charleshamiltonhouston.org/Events/Event.aspx?id=100118 and http://www.charleshamiltonhouston.org/News/Item.aspx?id=100088.
In 2005, Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. established the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ) at Harvard Law School. The Institute honors and continues the work of one of the great civil rights lawyers of the twentieth century. Litigator, scholar and teacher, Charles Hamilton Houston dedicated his life to using the law as a tool to reverse the unjust consequences of racial discrimination. CHHIRJ is committed to marshalling the resources of Harvard and beyond to continue Houston’s unfinished work.

Back to top
| Back to home page

White House Live Stream
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Sounds Make the News ®
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News