Mayor Menino: Don’t Let Candidates ‘Tear This School System Down’

Boston Mayor Tom Menino speaks at a ribbon cutting for a new playground at Harvard/Kent Elementary School in Charlestown. Menino cautioned residents not to allow candidates in the mayoral race to "tear down" the public school system during their campaigns.

Mayor Tom Menino cautioned Boston residents not to focus on negative portrayals of the Boston Public School system as the city’s mayoral race heats up.

Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new playground at Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown on May 10, Menino touted the progress public schools have made in recent years and asked residents not to allow anyone to “tear this school system down” in the coming months.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the Boston Public Schools in the last several years. It’s because of a lot of reasons—teachers, principals, the superintendent, the community—and I tell you, the graduation rate is up, dropout rates are down, more kids are going on to college,” Menino said.

He spoke of how the schools work to educate every child, from every background and learning level.

“Don’t let anybody over the next several months, as this campaign heats up, tear this school system down. This is a great school system. We’re not perfect, but with the new assignment plan we can make that happen,” Menino said. “To all of you out there: Stay positive about what’s happening in the schools. The most important thing we can do in our society today is to educate our children, and I think over the last few years we’ve done an incredible job. We have some ways to go. Don’t have this become an issue of tearing down the schools, because these kids out here are the future of our city.”

Menino also spoke highly of Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson, a Charlestown resident, who recently announced she will be retiring at the end of the school year.

“She has done a remarkable job for the young people of our city over the last several years—driving up test scores and graduation rates, improving access to the arts and making projects like [the Harvard-Kent schoolyard] an important part of learning,” Menino said.

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