The Last Gasps of Desperation on Alma del Mar

Here we go:

NEW BEDFORD — The City Council did not come to an agreement Thursday night about special legislation for the proposed second campus of Alma del Mar Charter School. The special legislation would establish an agreement among the city, Alma, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create a neighborhood-based charter school.

Current state law only allows charter schools to enroll students through a city-wide lottery process; this legislation would allow for an exception to enroll students from a specific district in the city.

Looks like New Bedford City Councilor Hugh Dunn finally got his talking points from the Massachusetts Teachers Association in Quincy and now boy is he OUTRAGED.

“We need to know exactly how this is going to play out and how these lines are going to be drawn,” said Dunn, who represents Ward 3, before the vote. “We need to make sure the line does not disproportionately affect certain minorities.”

Hugh’s grandstanding actually defies logic.

His reasoning— that he wants to know how these lines are drawn— is just on it’s face pretty ridiculous. You see, the New Bedford Public School District drew the zone over a month ago and released the info to the public.

A month ago.

Maybe it took all that time to make it up to the MTA and for them to turn around talking points, but come on, Hugh — this is just sad.

I mean, at this point, the guy has even had enough time to have sat down with the superintendent and discuss how the zone was created — that is — in between hosting MTA staff canvassing events in his ward for the “Funding Our Fighting” or whatever they’re calling it when the MTA gets big mad about charter schools or someone infringing on their god-given right to under serve kids for justice.

For the record: all of the families in this area are zoned to Keith Middle School— so if Hugh was actually concerned about the plight of “minority kids” (And who uses that terminology anymore? What is this 2009?) perhaps you should have been ringing the alarm about the Keith like … in 2009.

A brief look at the DESE data shows us that the Keith’s performance is currently at the bottom of the state and has been for a decade.

And the other families in the zone that was carved out by New Bedford Public Schools? Many families are zoned to Parker School and Hayden McFadden — two also very low performing elementary schools. In fact, the Parker has been in receivership for many years now and despite a ton of extra money being pumped into it — still has nothing to show for it.

So like, where was the campaign to help these poor students by Hugh, the champion of “minority kids” in 2009?

Oh, that’s right. Hugh didn’t care about the plight of “those kids” until a charter school showed that “those kids” were actually capable of learning until some of them were given the opportunity via charter school.

Also of note: Mayor McCheese of New Bedford has been running around the state touting the increase in the New Bedford High School graduation rate — because lord knows it couldn’t get much lower.

But no one in New Bedford has picked up on the fact that NBHS now has the lowest graduation rate in the state of any district (you can look up the DESE graduation rate data and sort by % graduated).

Thank God, New Bedford High School is not the only district high school in town — but I wouldn’t be bragging about the great miracle of New Bedford High School graduation rates — especially considering it looks like many New Bedford kids are pushed into the alternative high school and then end up dropping out.

The bottom line, delay tactics aren’t going to keep the new Alma from happening.

And thank goodness for that.

What do you think?

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