Michelle Wu Calls to Transform Boston Public Education with Green New Deal for Boston Schools, Dramatic Expansion of Services
Released on: April 15, 2021
Boston, MA - City Councilor and Mayoral Candidate Michelle Wu called today for the city to transform its approach to Boston’s public school system and vowed to take bold action as Mayor to make our school system fairer and easier to navigate for families. Her education vision (summarized in Spanish and Mandarin) would transform Boston Public Schools to unlock our city’s full promise and potential rather than underscoring its racial and socioeconomic divisions.
Her approach to Boston schools dramatically expands the services available in schools to address the whole child’s needs, makes the system easier for families to navigate and commits to a Green New Deal for BPS so every child can learn in a healthy, safe environment.
For too long, BPS has concentrated higher-needs students in schools that are wildly under-resourced, worsening racial and socioeconomic inequality and preventing children from pursuing their dreams. A recent survey found that 40% of students do not have a library in the building, 50% of students in K-8 and middle schools have no science lab, and about one-third of schools have no guidance counselor.
Making this a Day One priority of her administration, Wu stated that she would transform city government to work for families navigating the broken system, creating a Family Cabinet to ensure accountability and coordinate services for children and families, and pairing every family with a Family Corps navigator to guide their path from pre-K through graduation; Close the early education and childcare gap using the city’s immense resources to build sustainable career pathways; Bring a Green New Deal to BPS to revitalize aging school facilities and deliver environmental justice; Bring the full spectrum of services to each school, to transform every school building into a full-service, community hub; and invest in Madison Park Technical Vocational High School as an engine of economic vitality for the entire City of Boston.
“Our city will only unlock its full potential when every student has access to a great education and every family has the support they need. Boston knows how to invest in the next generation: we are home to the first public school anywhere in the country. But today, a Boston public education often means confusion, red tape and fighting for basic resources that every child deserves,” said Michelle Wu. “I know this struggle firsthand. When my mom suffered a mental health crisis, I raised my younger sister and navigated BPS as her legal guardian through middle and high school. Now, as mom to young boys, I’m once again a BPS parent. I will fight with the urgency of a mom to transform our City’s approach to children and families, so that every child receives the education they deserve.”
"All children deserve access to a quality education to reach their human potential and become constructive community members. As a BPS parent, I am excited about this plan because it puts families at the center, prioritizes closing gaps for under-resourced schools, and recognizes that early education and vocational schools are integral parts of the education system,” said Tania Del Rio, East Boston Parent and former Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement.
“Every school in the Boston Public Schools system needs to provide students with mental health services that can be easily accessible to students, as well as provide students with tools and knowledge on how to take care of themselves. Our classrooms need to feel welcoming and lessons need to allow us to explore new areas of interest. I believe that students need to be at the forefront of every decision and be seated at every table when a decision might impact us. It is long overdue to implement change into the Boston Public School system. This vision is one I support but is also one I believe in,” said Marcus McNeill, Junior at Fenway High School.
“Councilor Wu has presented an extraordinarily thorough, far-reaching plan for the well-being and educational success of Boston’s children. I strongly endorse her call for a Family Cabinet, Family Corps navigators and success plans for each child. She clearly recognizes that the challenge of equitably preparing our young people for the future must be a top priority for the entire community not just the public schools,” said Paul Reville, Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration, Founding Director, Education Redesign Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education
"As a fourth grade teacher who works with English learners, I know how critical it is to support and invest in community schools that provide not only quality education but full-service supports. Michelle's approach to a Boston Public Schools system where every child gets the services they need and differences are celebrated is exactly the kind of visionary thinking we need from our next Mayor,” said Sam Sikder, a Fourth Grade Teacher at Tobin K-8 School.
“As a 13 year veteran of the Boston Public Schools as both a teacher and coach (and as a BPS grad and BPS parent), I have witnessed the continued disinvestment in our childrens' academic and social well-being and the disproportionate harm it does to our BIPOC children, in particular. That is why I founded Beat the Streets New England, to use the sport of wrestling to give our kids a fighting chance and realize their full potential as student-athletes. But my organization, and the others nonprofits that work tirelessly to improve outcomes for kids, can't do that alone, which is why I am thrilled to see a real commitment from Councilor Wu's mayoral platform in making holistic investments in our children's lives through increased athletic and sports opportunities,” said José Valenzuela, history teacher at Boston Latin Academy and founder of Beat the Streets Boston and Boston Youth Wrestling.