We all know Boston has a long and troubled history with regards to public schools and busing and that kind of thing. Recently, a local task force has determined that Boston should try to go back to the neighborhood schools concept with elementary and middle schools (article here).
If I understand the article correctly, the city will be divided into several zones. Parents will have the option of choosing a particular school within their zone as their first choice. Their second choice will be a school outside of their zone. People living within 1/4 mile of a zone border will have the option of choosing from either zone. Fifty percent of the school’s seats will be reserved for children who are able to walk to school.
I like this idea. There are about four or five elementary schools within walking distance of my house. If I lived here and had a kid, I would love for my kid to be able to walk to school — I would hate for him/her to be bussed all the way to, say, West Roxbury. I was lucky as a kid to be able to walk or have a short bus ride to school, but of course, I lived in a teeny suburb so I had that option.
Granted, there are many schools in the poorer neighborhoods that are not up to speed. Parents still have a chance to get their kid into a better school in the city, but it’s no guarantee. I would like to see some kind of pledge, or something, that says, “As we work in this zoning system, we will improve those schools in the poorer neighborhoods that are failing.” Yes, yes, easier said than done, I know. I think their hearts are in the right place, though.