Youth research

Boston schools need a new leader to focus on education

Help Wanted: Superintendent of Boston Public Schools. Non-progressives do not need to apply.

The job description recommended by the BPS Superintendent’s Search Committee, which is heading for polishing steps by One-Fourth Consulting, is a long list of liberal talking points.

Among the qualifications, the superintendent should be someone who:

• Wants to be the leader of the nation’s oldest public school district and the first to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement.

Obvious, but it begs the question: how would the BPS Superintendent find the funding to fill these gaps?

• Demonstrated a genuine commitment to cultivating an anti-racist organization and reviewing policies and practices through an anti-racist lens.

• Preferably someone who is multilingual.

• Is “culturally competent”.

Cultural competence is important in today’s progressive academic circles. According to “The Culturally Competent Educator: A Handbook for School Leaders,” a “culturally competent educator is aware of their own culture and the effect it may have on people in their school environment. She learns about the culture of the organization and the cultures of the students, and anticipates how they will interact, conflict and improve each other. »

Think “check your privilege”.

• Must participate as a member of the mayor’s cabinet.

Translation: All aboard the Wu train.

• Served as an educator in a pre-K-12 public school district.

Of course, racism has no place in Boston Public Schools – or Boston, for that matter – and every student should be treated fairly and with respect. Cultural differences should be valued. But one wonders if a superintendent nominee’s vision for academic excellence will get as much attention.

Students need to be empowered, but they also need to be educated. According to recent findings from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, American children are rated average in reading, below average in science and mediocre in math, ranking 27th out of 34 developed countries.

But they rank highly for self-esteem.

We have a few questions for BPS Superintendent candidates, though we wonder if these issues will be addressed in interviews, given the progressive trend in the job description.

How would the candidate handle violence in Boston schools? This is a problem, and it must be solved for the benefit of students, teachers and staff. How would they address student responsibility for violent actions?

How would the candidate cope with the exodus of teachers? As the Herald reported, Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teachers Union, which has 8,400 members, said, “The pandemic has created anxiety and new demands and has become unsustainable for teachers working in this type of environment. … We need to hire more teachers because if we don’t, the teachers we have will have to continue teaching not only their classes but others as well, which contributes to burnout, which is how we are losing teachers.

The head of the Massachusetts Teachers Association blamed Gov. Charlie Baker and Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley for low morale that is pushing many teachers out of the profession.

“It’s not burnout; it’s demoralization,” said Merrie Najimy. “They don’t give us time to pay attention to the needs of the students because the teachers are teaching in several classes.”

A BPS superintendent candidate should strive to give students the best possible education while respecting the work of teachers.

This is job #1.