Lessons from Lawrence on education reform

Monday, June 11, 2012

The New Bedford Standard Times recently published an editorial expressing a desire for New Bedford to look to Lawrence for a lesson in education reform. The editorial recognizes the similarities in character, economy and demographic layout between the two Gateway Cities, and emphasizes that the educational reforms in Lawrence are relevant and instructive to New Bedford schools.

Lawrence schools have recently come under state receivership and produced an ambitious reform plan.

The most impressive benchmarks for Lawrence’s plan are raising the four-year graduation rate from 50% to 90% by 2015-16, and bringing students’ math and English MCAS scores in line with statewide averages.

As CommonWealth reported, Lawrence is working with leaders of successful charter schools to execute the plan in some of Lawrence’s most challenged schools.

The Standard Times cautions that some of the authority granted to Lawrence by the state takeover does not exist in New Bedford, making some of the changes coming to Lawrence difficult to implement in New Bedford.  

Yet, as the editorial points out, looking to another city’s experience for new ideas can help guide Gateway Cities working to overcome shared challenges.

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