Retrospective: Reforming Boston Schools: Race, History, and the Future: April 2010
by George (Chip) Greenidge, Jr.
It has been twelve years since we had this Ford Hall Forum at the Old South Church and Meeting House in Downtown Boston. I thought it would be a great time to reflect on all of the changes with a new mayor and new superintendent that have happened within the City of Boston and the Boston Public Schools to revisit the history. This reflects on Boston Public Schools' challenges of previous decades, as well as the hurdles ahead in developing a stronger education system for our city.
The panelists include: Joseph Cronin, former Massachusetts Secretary of Education; George Greenidge, Executive Director of National Black College Alliance; Claudio Martinez, Executive Director of Hyde Square Task Force; and Jean McGuire, Executive Director of METCO, join moderator Tessil Collins, senior coordinator of the Boston Public Schools. The Ford Hall Forum is the nation’s oldest continuously operating free public lecture series. Its mission is to foster an informed and effective citizenry and to promote freedom of speech through the public presentation of lectures, debates, and discussions. Forum events illuminate the key issues facing our society by bringing to its podium knowledgeable and thought-provoking speakers. These speakers are presented in person, for free, and in settings, which facilitate frank and open debate
Rest in Power (RIP) to Joseph Cronin (passed away in 2020) who was the President Emeritus of Bentley College in Waltham, MA. In the early 1990s, he helped me back in the early 2000's with a free tuition scholarship for minority high school students to attend Business Week, a residential week program to learn about entrepreneurship and business with professors and business professionals.
Dr. Joseph Marr Cronin
Dr. Joseph Marr Cronin has been a professor and dean at Harvard and Lesley Universities and President of Bentley College. He was the first Massachusetts Secretary of Education. Now President of an Education Advisor Services company called Edvisors, Dr. Cronin was president of Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation. He has held numerous other positions in his work as an educator over the last 43 years, including teaching in the Braintree, MA and Palo Alto, CA public schools in the late 1950s, later holding positions as high school principal, university professor, and state superintendent of Education in Illinois. Recently he has taught at Boston University and been Senior Fellow at the New England Board of Higher Education and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Dr. Cronin earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard College, his masters at Harvard University and his Ed.D. at Stanford University. He is the author of Reforming Boston Schools, 1930-2006: Overcoming Corruption and Racial Segregation. George “Chip” Greenidge In 1988, George “Chip” Greenidge was the president of the senior class at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. A graduate of Morehouse College, Harvard University’s School of Education and School of Business, Mr. Greenidge helped found Cambridge’s Benjamin Banneker Charter School, which focuses on math and science education for African-American and Latino elementary students. George is currently executive director of the National Black College Alliance, a group of alumni and students of historically black colleges and universities, who work with urban minority high school students to create a new generation of civic leaders. Mr. Greenidge recently launched a series of “Greatest Minds” summits to get Boston Black professionals more involved in the city’s civic and cultural life. Claudio Martinez Since 1998, Claudio Martinez has served as the Executive Director of the Hyde Square Task Force, an organization that builds the skills of inner-city youth through innovative arts and cultural, leadership, lifelong learning, economic development and community organizing initiatives. Under his leadership the Hyde Square Task Force has received numerous recognitions including the Coming Up Taller award, the nation’s highest honor for out of school arts and humanities programs given by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the Best Practice Award in Teen Programming for Youth Leadership and Achievement by Boston’s After School for All Partnership and the Innovations in Education City Excellence Award. Claudio has over 20 years of managerial experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors and has served as an advisor to several governmental, non-profit and transnational initiatives including Boston Housing Authority’s Monitoring Committee, Boston University Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership and the Boston-Haifa NGO Learning Exchange. As a community organizer, neighborhood activist and parent, Claudio has been involved in Boston school reform efforts for the last 20 years. He served for many years as co-chair of the Boston Parent Organizing Network and a board member of the Latino After School Initiative and the Boston Schoolyard Initiative. He also sits on the Board of Directors of The Boston Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and Boston After School and Beyond. He is a member of the inaugural class of the Barr Foundation Fellows Program. In 2008, he was appointed by Mayor Menino to the Boston School Committee. Jean McGuire Jean McGuire has been executive director of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc., (METCO) since 1973. As head of METCO, the largest and oldest not-for-profit desegregation/integration program in America, McGuire has become one of the most significant and outspoken leaders of the movement for quality education for people of color in metropolitan Boston and nationally. An activist for equal education and quality teachers, McGuire was a student at Girls Latin School and a Boston Public Schools teacher. Dr. McGuire attended Howard University and holds a B.S. from Boston State College, an M.A. in Education from Tufts University, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Salem State College. In 1981 Dr. McGuire became the second African American elected to serve on the Boston School Committee. Tessil J. Collins Tessil J. Collins is the owner of the Spectrum Broadcasting Corporation and the Director, University/Business Partnerships, Extended Learning & Grant Management at Dorchester Academy, a Boston Public High School. From 2006 – 2009, Mr. Collins held the position of Senior Coordinator of Arts, Media and Communications Technology in the Boston Public Schools’ Office of High School Support/Career & Technical Education. He co-facilitated the BPS report “Tech-Voc 2000”, a study of Career and Technical Education programs in Boston, was chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s Radio & Broadcasting Frameworks Committee, and holds an Assistant Superintendent certification in Career & Technical Education. Tessil also spent 22 years as a teacher of Communication Arts/Television Production at the Humphrey Occupational Resource Center & Madison Park Technical Vocational High School. Mr. Collins is a graduate of the Boston Latin School, Tufts University, Boston University’s Executive Management Program, and a Board Member and Vice President of the Ford Hall forum.
About the Ford Hall Forum
The Ford Hall Forum is the nation’s oldest continuously operating free public lecture series. Its mission is to foster an informed and effective citizenry and to promote freedom of speech through the public presentation of lectures, debates, and discussions. Forum events illuminate the key issues facing our society by bringing to its podium knowledgeable and thought-provoking speakers. These speakers are presented in person, for free, and in settings, which facilitate frank and open debate. Here is information about the Ford Hall Forums: https://sites.suffolk.edu/fordhallforum/ Here is more information about the Ford Hall Forum in 2010: https://forum-network.org/lectures/reforming-boston-schools-race-history-and-future/