Boston mayoral candidates offer two paths to overhaul schools

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Councilor at Large John R. Connolly, an attorney and former teacher, vows to shake up the Boston school system, ousting dozens from the “dysfunctional” bureaucracy and hiring an unconventional superintendent who is not a bureaucrat.

If teachers union negotiations deadlocked, Connolly said, he would simply implement the city’s final best offer.

By contrast, state Representative Martin J. Walsh, a longtime labor leader, says he would stress teamwork, partnering with the union to overhaul schools. He would pick a collaborative superintendent who would work with, not battle, the union and administrators.

The way Connolly and Walsh would execute their overhauls distinguishes the two men, who agree on many other educational issues, such as the need for a longer school day and expanded early education.

Whether one approach or the other will lead to a more robust revitalization of Boston’s long-struggling school system is up for debate. Would Connolly’s aggressive take-charge agenda lead to chaos across the system? Would Walsh’s congeniality prevent the enactment of bold ideas?

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