And, of course, mine too. First, Hizzoner (boldface mine):
I want our next superintendent to be a proven urban education leader who shares my commitment to eliminating the achievement gap, universal early education, high school reform, inclusion programs, dual language programs, a new approach to school construction, and expanded, high quality career and technical training.
These are goals we can reach.
Madison Park High School in Roxbury already is being transformed into a world-class career and technical school, by partnering with Roxbury Community College, the business community and the Building Trades. That’s the start of realizing my broader vision: I want more kids in more high schools in every neighborhood to have that kind of opportunity, that level of career and technical training.
Study after study has told us that universal early education and these other changes can be transformative. They give every child a more equal chance to thrive and succeed. Yes, these things cost money – but we must find a way.
Education spending is the biggest piece of our city budget. So we start with this principle: Every dollar we spend on education must be put to best and most effective use. That’s why I will work with the school committee and acting superintendent to commission a Performance Audit of our school department – a close look not just at where the money is going, but whether it is being spent most effectively and efficiently.
And we can change the way Boston pays for school construction, renovation, and maintenance – another major expense. As a legislator, I supported the creation of the Massachusetts School Building Authority to ensure a fair, transparent and accountable process to make quality school buildings available to every child. Now, as Mayor, I will work to make sure Boston secures its share of equitable state funding as part of a plan to rebuild its long-neglected and antiquated school buildings.
There’s a lot I like here. Madison Park needs a lot more attention. It might be a case where a charter approach is appropriate, given how different the school is from other public schools. Fixing the schools’ infrastructure is also important. It still remains an outstanding question if Walsh will push hard for charter schools (they already receive, on average, ~20% more funding while having fewer English as second language and learning disabled students). It’s not entirely clear what the goal of the Performance Audit is–and as I’ve documented here many times, it’s really easy to game these to achieve a predetermined outcome.
Nonetheless, encouraging words.