Fourth Graders Are Getting Unequal Educations, Says Chang

By: Jule Pattison-Gordon

School Superintendent Tommy Chang gave a keynote address at The Boston Foundation last week reflecting on the aspirational goals noted in his 100-Day Plan. Discussion focused on targeting educational inequity, evident at early ages and which, if not tackled, only increases as time goes on.

Joining Chang was a panel of education notables including Rahn Dorsey, Boston’s chief of education; Audrey Jackson, 2016 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year; John Connolly, executive director of nonprofit 1647 and former city council Committee on Education chair; Liliana Mickle, special assistant to the vice provost of Academic Support Services and Undergraduate Studies at University of Massachusetts Boston; and Beliza Moriarty, parent of four children enrolled in BPS schools or playgroups, representing the parent voice.

The 100-Day Plan initiatives were in part inspired by an information gathering series that included approximately 40 listen-and-learn events, Chang said, and will serve as a starting point for the district’s three-year strategic plan.

Among the key initiatives Chang advocates is expanded access to rigorous coursework in fourth grade. Currently, some — but not all — schools offer Advanced Work Classes in grades 4-6, and children have to perform well on a test in third grade to get in.

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