Editorial: Moving forward on BPS

We welcome the hiring of Dr. Tommy Chang as the new superintendent of Boston Public Schools. And we hope this means BPS finally will move forward with community-based, transparent master planning.

For too long, under former Mayor Menino, BPS decision-making was secretive, surprise-based and frequently simply bewildering. As one example from recent years, the successfully Mission Hill School moved to Jamaica Plain, and soon Fenway High will move here. What the community thought mattered little; what the schools needed, they had to fight for at the last minute; and the locally rooted names remained the same despite the dislocation.

And that’s nothing compared to the public outrage over secretive closures and other alterations that have not had dramatic impact where it matters most—achievement gaps.

It took Mayor Walsh far too long to focus on choosing a BPS chief. And there is some point to criticisms that the last-minute public interviews of the four final candidates were a charade of transparency that may have scared off some better options.

But if someone is in the super’s chair, and there is any kind of public transparency on BPS’s direction, we’ll take it—as a start. We look forward to Dr. Chang’s ideas and trust they will directly include parents and the community at large in developing a master vision as well the operations of individual schools.

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