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Kids stand by as reform debated

<p>Eighth-graders at the Excel Academy Charter School in East Bostonscored tops in Massachusetts on the English and math MCAS tests lastyear, a feat that left principal Komal Bhasin and her staff both proudand motivated to continue their success. <br /></p>

Boston Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson has unveiled an aggressive plan to turn around the city’s low-performing schools amid criticism of the achievement gap among students.

The school department has targeted 14 schools with low MCAS scores that will be forced to develop short- and long-term plans to boost student achievement or face “serious consequences.”

Officials also hope to create stronger methods to evaluate teachers and administrators, as well as expand Parent University, a program intended to get parents more involved in their children’s studies.

The city’s public schools have also come under harsh scrutiny on issues such as funding sports programs and high transportation costs.

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