Cambridge School Committee Examines Achievement Gap, School Assignments
The Cambridge Public School Committee met informally on Tuesday to identify key problems affecting public schools and their potential remedies, and concluded that student achievement was the top priority in both the short- and long-term.
Specifically, Committee members said they would aim to close the race-based achievement gap and to raise expectations for all students.
Members also acknowledged the importance of other pressing issues such as the upcoming school assignment process, which usually assigns students to specific schools based on preference. But mandatory assignments, which are used when preferences cannot be fully accommodated, will take place this year, according to Committee Member Alice L. Turkel.
Turkel said that while school assignments are salient because they affect schools and the community in the immediate future, student achievement is an issue that should not be neglected either.
Committee Member Marc C. McGovern echoed Turkel’s sentiments, noting that it is necessary to focus directly on achievement instead of giving exclusive attention to “hot-button” issues such as school assignment.
According to Turkel, while no consensus was reached on how to specifically tackle the problem of achievement, the Committee members established an outline titled “Culture Change for High Expectations.” The outline will be expanded and discussed by McGovern, Cambridge Mayor David P. Maher, and Superintendent Jeffrey M. Young at the Committee’s upcoming meeting in May.
—Rediet T. Abebe