On the way to becoming a lawyer, he taught in a tough NYC school and then in a Boston charter one. He still believes in charters, not as the salvation but as proving grounds for prototypes to replicate.
As well as the details of budgets, Connolly spoke of the wider issues and answers. He said that parents won't be and shouldn't be happy with the schools until each has adquate resources, like SPED classes, arts, advanced work and more.
In response to our questions, he said that wasn't going to happen in two years but not our ourlying suggestion of 30 either. It will occur when there is a better cash flow and those models of good schools.
One of his examples of increasing cash was to start whittling down the $80 million a year the system spends on busing kids around to schools with the classes the parents want and the students need. These go together, of course. When the parents are sure their children will get what they need locally, they would rather have their kids travel less.
Connolly doesn't have much patience with those who point to the per-student costs of the BPS as a theoretical proof of failure. Instead, he speaks to the large and increasing percentage of English language learners and immigrants who start in kindergarten at a disadvantage. He calls for collaboration and cooperation with civic groups and churches to help stage the whole families to become Bostonians and Americans.
He has two young preschoolers. He wants his BPS to be ready to turn them into well educated city kids. Listen in to how he thinks we can get there and what the obstacles are.