Why would School System refuse this?

UPDATED: Apparently this guy being refused was published in a story the SUN wrote where the Headmaster addressed his concerns:

Martin, however, said that Richmond misrepresented his connections with Gear Up.

“He was not completely honest about the affiliation,” Martin said. “We felt strongly that if there wasn’t another organization that he was connected to, that this wasn’t something we wanted to go forward with.”

School officials who met with Richmond — student Support Services Coordinator David Robinson and Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Director Amy McLeod — did not recommend moving forward with the project, Martin said.

Thanks to Patrick Farmer for the assist!!

The following Letter to the Editor is in today’s newspaper. IF what the author claims is true, the School Dept. needs to explain why they are ignoring a program that could potentially help disadvantaged students.

The part of the letter that reads that the Supt. was contacted and “Two months later he had not replied ” is getting to be a common statement from business people and city dept. heads.

Here is the letter:

Rejection of MIT alumni program slights disadvantaged LHS students

UPDATED: 06/08/2016 06:39:51 AM EDT

Takeoff Space, founded by MIT alumni and Lowell High School graduates, exists because so few Lowell High School students of high academic talent make it to top colleges.

To remedy this, MIT undergraduates will review college choices and prepare applications with LHS students on the MIT campus after school hours. We raised $10,000, formed a team, including a national leader in college admissions, and prepared to start.

Senior school officials Amy McLeod and David Robinson met with me on March 2, approved cooperation, and requested publicity materials. Two days later I was informed that Headmaster Brian Martin had reversed that decision.

Some teachers and counselors would like to help but face discipline should they tell students about a program that promises to bring them the admissions results they justly deserve but currently almost never attain.

Mayor Edward Kennedy relayed the reason the school gave for blocking: a school graduate and Harvard alum is already offering college coaching. This graduate, however, coaches only the top five students each year without focusing on disadvantaged students. Around 40 disadvantaged students in the top 5 percent of their class are eligible for our program. There’s much unmet demand.

As a further example of inappropriate protection of turf, the Gear Up program that supports disadvantaged college admissions at the school — and which had previously been keen to work with us — has now said they don’t want to cooperate.

I complained about the headmaster to Superintendent of Schools Selah Khelfaoui on March 16. Two months later he had not replied. However, Mayor Kennedy requested that I meet Khelfaoui. This was an alternative to addressing the School Committee after the superintendent blocked my teammate and myself from speaking during the public- comment period at the May 18 meeting at which we had registered to appear.

On May 23, Khelfaoui replied in a brief note that the school already has “community and LHS staff partnerships” for student “college and career choices” and blocked our program.

Why not give parents and students the choice?

We know from the school’s poor performance in college admissions that existing partnerships leave huge gaps. However, the emphasis on allegiances rather than needs shows the headmaster is improperly protecting existing relationships at the cost of the disadvantaged immigrant community our program is designed to serve.

The school district gave as reason to refuse our appearance May 18 that we were not addressing an agenda item. However, rules on public comment state that the public may address any “items within the scope of responsibility of the School Committee.” On June 1 the school district once more illegally rejected our right to appear, citing the same incorrect reason.

We are being illegally barred to silence our criticism. It is time to tell the superintendent that his violation of rules is a disgrace, as well as to stop a bully-boy headmaster strong-arming his teachers and counselors from choosing to inform their students of our extraordinary opportunity.

JONATHAN RICHMOND

Lowell

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One thought on “Why would School System refuse this?

  1. Averell

    Why on earth would anyone reject the TakeOff Space program. It is an arrogant, uninformed and just plain discriminatory move on the part of everyone involved in rejection. THey should hang their heads in shame.

    Reply

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