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Letter to the Editor: School Does Not Recruit School Choice Students

The chairwoman of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Committee responds to an article about school choice in a recent Enough is Enough publication.

To the Editor:

I feel it’s necessary for the School Committee and the district to address an article contained in an Enough is Enough publication – - as it is having an impact at the school level.

The article and is about school choice. The District is very aware about the controversy that surrounds choice and the appetite from our community for more study of choice’s impact on our high school costs, scheduling and class sizes. The article is not about that; rather, it alleges impropriety with respect to our school choice selection process, which is inaccurate and misleading and must be corrected.

The Massachusetts school choice law (General Laws Chapter 76, Section 12B) was enacted in 1991 to allow parents to send their children to public schools in communities other than that in which they reside. School Committees choose whether or not to become school choice receiving districts. We post the application online - it contains only basic information (name, address, phone and current school). There is never any school information attached to the application. If a parent sends anything beyond the application, it is separated and shredded.

The applications are either dropped off or sent electronically, and when received are assigned a number in no particular order. The High School principal’s administrator dates the form and files it. The numbers are marked on slips of paper in preparation for the lottery when they are drawn from a hat by the high school principal. The school choice lottery is held in the lobby of the high school during the school day fully visible to anyone who wishes. Parents of accepted students are notified and invited to attend an information session and have the option to shadow for the day before making a final decision.

So what don’t we do:

• We do not make phone calls to recruit “desirable” students and we don’t have access to differentiating information in the first place.

• We don’t need to solicit applications because we always have plenty - this year we accepted 40 students but had over 100 applications. 

• We have no urgent need to boost our test scores; we are ranked ninth in the state and are not recruiting students to change our averages.

It is my hope that the above provides the necessary facts around our school choice process. If anyone needs further information regarding this topic please contact John Hughes, principal at at hughesj@hwschools.net.

Alexa McCloughan

Chairwoman of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Commitee

Paul J May 06, 2012 at 04:25 AM
I sure would not want you running my business. The cost would not be the same as there would over time be a teacher cost reduction along with supplies and administrative cost. All of what you say are scare tactics that our kids will suffer.
Johnny B May 06, 2012 at 12:37 PM
The article on school choice is based upon the cherry picking of one example (I think-like to have more information on that one example), and the sad irony is schools like PIngree recruit constantly. To infer that part of the problem with school choice is the recruitment by Hamilton Wenham is misleading and not true. Based upon that one example, this article should not have been written. Come on!
Jim Smith May 06, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Fast forward to 2012 and America continues to lag behind the rest of the world despite spending significantly more per student than any other country. Why does America continue to fall further and further behind the rest of the world? There is a litany of reasons, which I won’t go into now, but suffice it to say that America needs to seriously evaluate the entire education system. Of course the liberals will never admit that we need to make wholesale changes to the system, because they have been in the driver’s seat for the last century, and to admit we need to change things would be an admission of failure on their part and they will never do that.
Jay Burnham May 07, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Like inappropriate "free" comments posted on online news sites?
Anne Sweeney May 12, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Voting, NO, send a message to those who choose to dominate local governance. Maybe then they will go back and re-do, and do their due-diligence by and for the tax payers whom at some point if not already default on their home and family budgets. Where do they go ? There is no deficit spending for the home owner, just stark reality. By saying, NO, keeps budgets in line and keeps the town in line with all of us little people. Why is it unfair in asking the town to follow the same rules and same guidelines we as home owners have to face while doing our own home budgets ? The injustice is when the towns people are marginalized and disenfranchised from the Clicks that run small towns. I believe Alexander Hamilton would approve of Referendum Government as what true democracy is about. Since we are a republic, would you like to leave Hamiltons decisions up to the Courts as republics do ?

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