How We Are Investing in Future Leaders Through School System Revamp
During last night’s State of the Union, President Obama addressed the issue of Education in America. Today, proper education and a college degree is not cheap, inhibiting in thousands of children from their brightest future. Now, leaders across America are making serious initiatives in 2015 to make change.
I was lucky enough to attend Mayor Walsh’s State of the City Address last week, and I have to say, Marty did not disappoint! Boston’s new Mayor really nailed his address to the city, and left me feeling so inspired and excited for the direction and initiatives we can expect in our city. Particularly, there is a lot in store to revamp the education system and it is MUCH needed. As the daughter of a Boston Public Schools administrator, it definitely hit home.
The policy changes are aimed at the year 2030, Boston’s 400th birthday. There’s been talk for decades about fixing the schools, but not enough action. Walsh commits to taking real action, and realizes that in order to become the thriving, healthy, and innovative city, we have to invest in our children.
Great schools are, quite literally, seen as a prize in the lottery by families with school-age children. Walsh pointed out that Boston established public education, and is home to some of the greatest universities in the world, but access to an excellent public school is seen as a lucky break. More than 30% of our high school students don’t graduate in five years – it’s unacceptable.
So, there is a ton of pressure on the next superintendent (chosen next month) and his team to do better for Boston’s children. There are a few key initiatives that, if executed, will help Boston Public Schools do better:
- Adding 40 minutes of quality learning time to the school day through 8th grade
- Expanding full-day pre-kindergarten, intended to reach every 4-year-old in Boston
- Enhancing STEM program – science, technology, engineering & math
- Re-designing high schools around pathways to college and career, including a new partnership with global software company SAP to create a high-tech career pipeline from Charlestown High School to Bunker Hill Community College
- Revamping Boston School Committee, including an early learning specialist, special ed advocate, and parents of children currently in BPS
- Establishing city’s first permanent school building program with a 10-year Facilities Plan to identify the needs in every neighborhood
- New “Office of Financial Empowerment” will launch a free child savings account program
These are huge steps in the right direction, and Mayor Walsh made it very clear that this is just the beginning. He will not be satisfied until every child, in every neighborhood and school across Boston, has the education they deserve through high school and beyond.
With so many other initiatives and innovations going on to bring such a historic city into the forefront of the 21st century, it is absolutely imperative that the schools are the main focus in order to get to where the city needs to be. Otherwise, all of the other efforts are moot and the long-term momentum just won’t be there.
There are things all of us can do to help BPS and the thousands of kids in Boston – do yourself a favor and check out this link, to volunteer opportunities like Boston Cares, Building Impact, City Year, and Boston Partners In Education. It’s easy to take things like school systems for granted if you don’t have children yet, but think about this: many of you aim to be successful, and maybe even start your own business or invent something new. Who are you going to have to hire 15 years from now, if the school systems are still failing so many children and families? Investing time now will have an indescribable impact for Boston and everyone who lives and works in this amazing city.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KYLIE BRENNAN
As a woman in digital advertising who has traveled from Boston to Chicago now back to Boston for my career, I am passionate about inspiring women & innovation while challenging myself in the meantime. I graduated with my BSBA in Marketing from Boston University’s School of Management, and went on to build my career in advertising, and take on life’s adventures with my loyal sidekick Remy, the Cockapoo.
Read More about and from the author: Kylie’s WiLab Profile