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School & District Management Opinion

Payzant Says He Didn’t Know About Pilot Schools Screening Kids Either

By Alexander Russo — July 12, 2007 1 min read

Following up on the Boston Globe’s story that Boston’s famed pilot schools were screening students rather than taking all comers like everyone else (is supposed to). former Boston superintendent Tom Payzant (under whose leadership the pilots were started) said that he didn’t know about the practice, either.

Writes Payzant: “Frankly, I was surprised that schools other than Quincy Upper and the Arts Academy had special requirements. Sometimes the Supt. is the last to know.” Payzant said he’d tell the schools to cut it out, though perhaps allowing schools to require a parent visit upon acceptance so that they know what they’re getting into. Payzant also says that he’s criticized charters for not taking enough SPED and ELL, and that the pilots have done better with ELLs and were being “pushed” on SPED kids for several years. “I pushed them to address the special ed issue 4-5 years ago and insisted that they welcome students with disabilities. There has been a lot of progress on that front.”

Adds current interim superintendent Mike Contompasis: “I do not believe that the pilots with the exception of Fenway continue to screen prior to the lottery process. I am informing the pilots again that these practices will cease effective in the coming year.”

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