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Fearing state takeover, Boston shutters failing Mattahunt Elementary

Parents, education advocates call it another example of the how city is allowing black and Hispanic students to fall behind.

Mattahunt's 616 students will be enrolled in other Boston-area schools next fall.<Boston Public Schools

Mattahunt Elementary School, which has perennially underperformed on state exams, will be shuttered at the end of the school year, Boston Public Schools officials decided Wednesday.

The decision came in an effort to avoid a state takeover, WBUR reported.

Mattahunt is among the bottom 1 percent of Massachusetts schools based on state test scores reported to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The 616-student school is located in Mattapan, among the poorest neighborhoods in the city.


Since 2012, Mattahunt has been considered a “turnaround school,” in which a struggling school receives special administrative attention and an annual grant ofabout $600,000. If administrators are unable to adequately raise test scores, the state can step in to take control.

Mattahunt's low test scores failed to improve, and Boston superintendent Tommy Chang said the best option was to close it and reenroll students elsewhere in the district .

“We’ve run out of time at this school,” Chang told the Boston Globe. “It’s unfortunate.”

An early-learning center will replace classrooms for Mattahunt’s kindergarten and preschool students, but children in grades 1 to 5 will have to enroll at other Boston public schools.

Since Chang announced his intention to shutter the school on Oct. 31, parents and public education advocates have criticized the move, saying Mattahunt is another school of predominantly minority students that has fallen through the cracks, the Globe reported.

The school is 70 percent black, one quarter Hispanic and 2 percent white, according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Civil rights attorney and education activist Peggy Wiesenberg also spoke out against school officials for giving parents just two weeks to react to news of a possible closure. “You would never do this in a white neighborhood,” the Globe quoted her as saying.

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