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We asked Erica Tritta, a South Boston resident and attorney who is running for the City Council seat in District 2, two questions about Boston Public Schools that we are asking all of the candidates.
What do you believe is the current state of Boston Public Schools? What grade would you give them now? And what grade would you give them when Marty Walsh started four years ago?
It’s a tough answer. I don’t know if I am in a position to officially grade the schools. I think there are good things the schools are doing, but I also think there is room for improvement. If I gave it a grade, I would probably say there is room for improvement.
We still have schools that are considered level four or five [failing] in our district, and that is unacceptable. We also have students who aren’t accessing education as they should be. That is unacceptable. But we also have to remember that Massachusetts is a leader in education, and that’s what we should strive for as City Council members. There’s talk of closing schools when they are level four or five, and I don’t want to see that happen. I want to see schools in every community stay open.
I may be married to a teacher, but I’m not an education expert. So I would be happy to have the opportunity to speak to all of those in the field, but for now I’d say [my grade for BPS] is room for improvement.
What specifically are you going to do to improve schools? How many are you going to visit? What programs would you add or subtract? How much more money, if any, do you think the schools need?
In short I would work very hard to improve them. Specifically, as to how many schools I would visit, I would certainly want to visit all of the schools in my district. There is an opportunity when you visit a school to see and engage with families and staff. It’s important to talk to administration and teachers to learn what works, what doesn’t work, what they need more funding for, what they have enough funding for.
It’s difficult to know how much the schools need, but I’d like to say as much as possible. Children need to be able to access education, and that ties into some of the programs that have started. Universal pre-kindergarten is something I fully support. I know the council has started to look at early education prior to pre-kindergarten, and I fully support that as well. So much of a child’s development happens before they get to school. So if we can set up our kids to succeed earlier, I think that will help through graduation. To do that, we need to keep students engaged. I see far too many students leaving school at 16, and I think a lot of that is because they’re not engaged in school.
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