Why some leave Randolph: Part 2 Schools

Schools

School quality is often cited as the most important determinant of a residential area’s competitiveness.  Families choose towns and cities for their school systems.  Randolph’s schools experienced a decade of decline before bottoming out in 2007.  In that year, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges put Randolph High School on probation after its accreditation review.  The failure to achieve accreditation for the high school was quickly followed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) declaration of the Randolph Public School system as “underperforming.”  This official declaration was the result of several years of sub-standard scores on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests and an in depth analysis of the schools by DESE staff.  The designation brings greater state involvement into the school system and provided an opportunity for a state takeover of the schools, which the state Board of Education declined to do.  While these high profile failures made headlines, parents and students in Randolph suffered from a continuous decline in school services.  Sports and extracurricular activities were cut back and eliminated.  Arts and music in the schools were nearly extinct.  Bus service was cut.  The teaching staff declined and with it course offerings.  People also began to regard the schools as unsafe environments.  Randolph’s MCAS scores were ranked among the lowest of all districts in Massachusetts.  All of this was heavily reported, and the Patriot Ledger created a special website “Randolph Schools in Crisis.”  Today the school system suffers from a tremendously bad reputation despite the many improvements made since the rock bottom year of 2007.  In a fuller discussion of the schools, I plan to highlight the progress made in the last three years and the work that remains to be done.  But, until the reputation of the schools recovers the actual quality of the schools will matter less towards people’s choice to live in Randolph.

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