Eating his words

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As noted last week, the Board Chairman S. Paul Reville performed a disservice to the parents and kids of Brockton, when he attacked a proposal for a new regional charter school at the last Board of Education meeting.

It was the first time that the Board turned down a recommendation from the Commissioner of Education, whose department puts all proposals through a rigorous vetting process.

Now, golly, I have intimated that the whole thing was rigged, given the bent of the Brockton Superintendent, the Governor’s Senior Adviser on Education Dana Mohler-Faria and the Governor against charters. I have received a couple of emails noting that I am pre-judging the decision.

Uh, no.

Just look back to a report issued in 2003, by S. Paul Reville’s own Rennie Center (then part of MassINC) which identified the school operated in Springfield by SABIS Int’l, the proponent of the Brockton charter, as one of eight “non-selective urban high schools that are on the road to success in helping their students achieve at high levels (the study’s parameters were 50% minority and 45% low-income).”

The report is called “Head of the Class: Characteristics of Higher Performing Urban High Schools in Massachusetts.”

In the press release accompanying the report, Mr. Reville noted that “Too few urban high schools are meeting the learning needs of low-income and minority youth” and that “this challenge should command the immediate attention of policymakers and researchers.”

So how could Mr. Reville in good conscience attack the Springfield SABIS charter school he so applauded before as a way to justify the rejection of SABIS’s application to establish a charter in Brockton?

What a difference an appointment makes. Or am I pre-judging? Maybe I am wrong and that challenge to deal with the achievement gap simply no longer commands the immediate attention of policymakers…

Certainly the aspirations of the 1300 kids, who would have been able to attend the proposed Brockton charter, did not matter to Mr. Reville.

I wonder how those words tasted as he redigested them. Can’t imagine it felt good.