Amid Racial Charges, Boston Board Fires Wilson

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Allegations of racial injustice surfaced in Boston last week, when the school committee voted to dismiss Laval S. Wilson, the system's first black superintendent.

The 13-member Boston School Committee voted 7-to-1 on Feb. 13 to negotiate a buy-out of Mr. Wilson's contract before it expires in June 1991. All four black board members and one white member refused to participate in the vote, which at least one board member described as partially motivated by race.

"That man is black and they've been beating up on him since the day he got here," said John O'Bryant, the longest-serving black member. ''Without question, from my perspective, some of the people who voted to oust him had some racial motives."

Chanting "Selma! Selma! Selma!" and raising their fists, the four black members walked out of the meeting before the vote was taken.

Mr. Wilson also said he believed that race played a role in the vote.

But other committee members said Mr. Wilson's leadership style, not his race, spurred the board's action. Critics have repeatedly charged that the superintendent failed to build alliances with the city's parents and teachers.

A date for the superintendent's departure had not been set by late last week.

The unexpected vote on Mr. Wilson's future occurred after he refused to attend a private meeting of the school committee to discuss a review of his performance.

The 54-year-old leader assumed the superintendency in 1985. But his tenure has been tenuous since last June, when the board renewed his contract by a slim 7-to-6 margin. At that time, board members required the school chief to undergo a performance review every six months.

Mr. Wilson came to Boston from Rochester, N.Y., where he had been superintendent.

He is currently one of the finalists being considered to lead the Dade County, Fla., school system, which includes Miami.--lo

Vol. 09, Issue 22

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >