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Monday, December 06, 2021

波士頓居民呼籲市領導恢復他們選舉學校委員會委員的權利

波士頓居民呼籲市領導恢復他們選舉學校委員會的權利

波士頓人喜歡辯論政治。但有一項大議題,波士頓人絕大多數同意:他們想要選舉他們的學校委員會。他們認為,所做決定會影響現在及未來的5萬名波士頓兒童的這個重要的政策制定委員會,應該直接向市民負責。

2021 11 月的市級選舉中,代表了79%選民的 99,000 多波士頓人,投票支持選舉產生的學校委員會。

波士頓人支持選舉產生的學校委員會(Bostonians for an Elected School Committee)這組織,呼籲市議會和市長執行選民的明確授權並批准地方自治請願書,以恢復波士頓居民投票選舉其學校委員會的權利。這是一個明顯的投票權問題。

麻州的每個其他社區都已經擁有這樣的投票權。只有波士頓沒有。對波士頓公立學校的民主控制早就該恢復了。這應該是我們新市政府的首要任務。

Boston residents call on city leaders to restore their right to elect the School Committee

Bostonians love to argue about politics. But there’s one major issue on which Bostonians overwhelmingly agree: They want to elect their School Committee. They believe that this critical policy-making board, whose decisions affect the current and future lives of 50,000 Boston children, should be directly accountable to the city residents.

In the November 2021 municipal election, more than 99,000 Bostonians, representing 79 percent of voters, cast their ballots in favor of an elected School Committee.

Bostonians for an Elected School Committee calls upon the City Council and Mayor to carry out the clear mandate of the voters and approve a home rule petition to restore Boston residents' right to vote for their School Committee. This is a clear voting rights issue.

Every other community in Massachusetts already has that voting right. Only Boston does not. The restoration of democratic control over the Boston Public Schools is long overdue. It should be the first order of business for our new city government.

Statements from community leaders:

Tanisha M. Sullivan, President of the NAACP Boston Branch says: “The NAACP has consistently fought for the protection and expansion of voting rights regardless of where that fight takes us—but, especially when the issue is in our own backyard. For decades Bostonians have been denied the right to vote for our School Committee, and this year Bostonians from every corner of our city, across all backgrounds, declared ‘no more’. On this point we all agree. It is now time for the city council to act and lead us in our pursuit to restore our right to vote on the School Committee.”

Erik Berg, Executive Vice President of the Boston Teachers Union, says "As educators, we teach the value of democracy to our students. Providing Boston residents the same right as voters in every other community in Massachusetts to elect their School Committee is the most democratic way to ensure that the committee is representative of and accountable to the students, families, and communities they represent.

“Boston voters overwhelmingly voted in the November election to shift from a Mayor-appointed committee (the only one in Massachusetts) to an elected committee. The Boston City Council needs to honor the will of their constituents and democratize the Boston School Committee."  

Jonathan Rodriguez of Mijente Boston Asamblea:
"Our city must act on the overwhelming mandate given in November from voters across the city. Across the country, we join the chorus of cities devolving local power to school communities. It’s  no coincidence the most disenfranchised have been communities of color."

 

Susan Naimark, who served as an appointed School Committee member for eight years, saw firsthand the downside of a governing board that was not accountable. “One of my biggest frustrations as a member of the appointed School Committee was our poor process for getting input from those we served,” she says. “I spent a lot of my time checking with frontline educators, parents, and community members closer to the ground when policy proposals were presented to us. Too often, I got a very different perspective on the problems and possible solutions than those presented from above.

“The lack of trust of the school system on the part of families of color was always evident. Restoring democratic representation, while not a panacea, is one piece of restoring voice, accountability, and trust to those families who use our public schools.”

Ivelisse Caraballo, Co-Executive Director for the Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network (CPLAN), notes that “CPLAN (i.e., parents) has been fighting for equity in education because we believe that the power must be within those that are directly impacted by policies created on a legislative level. Elected officials represent OUR voices, but only if our voices are included in the decision-making process. Consistent with this, Boston residents have been making history in shifting the power dynamics in politics. It is evident that Bostonians are also demanding equitable processes that include the input of constituents.”

Neema Avashia, a teacher at the McCormack School, saw the School Committee take away the school’s athletic fields because the mayor’s office had another use for the land. “I don’t know that the outcome of School Committee votes would have been different with an elected School Committee. But I do know that as citizens of the city of Boston, we would have had recourse when our needs were ignored,” she says. “The members' continued presence on the committee would be contingent upon our votes, instead of upon enacting the will of the mayor.”

Beth Huang, executive director of the Massachusetts Voter Table, said the will of Boston voters is clear: "Nearly 100,000 voters in Boston have shown their support for an elected school committee. Voters overwhelmingly want students, parents, educators, and residents to have a greater say in how Boston Public Schools serve our communities. It's time for the City Council and the state legislature to take action on the will of the voters by passing the home rule petition."

 

Bostonians for an Elected School Committee is a broad coalition of organizations and people across the city, including 15 steering committee organizations, that campaigned for Question 3 on the November ballot, an advisory question on restoring the right of Boston residents to elect their School Committee.

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