The Manchester Board of School Committee accepted an offer from Manchester Proud to pay for the fee to join the Council of the Great City Schools, reported Paul Feely for the Union Leader:

School board members voted last week to accept an offer from Manchester Proud to cover the $30,000 cost of the district joining the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition bringing together 70 of the nation’s largest urban public school systems to work toward the improvement of education for children in inner cities.

Its mission is to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research and media relations. It provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to exchange information and possible solutions. Roughly 7.3 million students are served by districts that are members.

“I am so pleased and we are fortunate that you have embraced the need for help,” Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas told Manchester Proud members last week.

“I have the utmost respect for the organization. They have a long track record of working with administrators and school boards.”

Vargas said he has a 13-year relationship with the council through his prior jobs in New York.

He said the main benefit to Manchester of joining the council would be the support the group provides for any challenge the district may face.

“They could come and give a third party look at the situation, which you could choose to follow or not follow, at no charge to the district,” said Vargas. “Normally, every item we want to bring a consultant to assist on there is a heavy price tag associated with it. This would cover that.”

At-Large school board member Rich Girard abstained from voting on the matter, citing concerns he had with the council.

“I do not believe they are an objective, third-party group,” said Girard. “They are one of the foremost promoters off the Common Core standards. Not only are they not taking any steps back to evaluate them, they are moving full steam ahead.”

“Manchester schools now have an outside resource to work with to help us diagnose and work through issues we encounter in the field,” said Mayor Craig. “It’s great to have that resource. To a certain extent, Manchester is very insular. We know what we know, but I think it will be very valuable to have someone from the outside come in and help us through some of the challenges that we’re encountering. We don’t need to recreate the wheel; I’m sure other places have encountered things that we’re encountering now, and to get that expertise to come in and help us through the process is welcomed.”

The Council of the Great City Schools brings together 70 of nation’s largest urban public school systems in a coalition dedicated to the improvement of education for children in the inner cities. The Council and its member school districts work to help our schoolchildren meet the highest standards and become successful and productive members of society.

The Council keeps the nation’s lawmakers, the media, and the public informed about the progress and problems in big-city schools. The organization does this through legislation, communications, research, and technical assistance. The Council of the Great City Schools accomplishes its mission by connecting urban school district personnel from coast to coast who work under similar conditions. Staff with responsibilities for curricula, research and testing, finance, operations, personnel, technology, legislation, communications, and other areas confer regularly under the Council’s auspices to share concerns and solutions and discuss what works in boosting achievement and managing operations.

Source: Paul Feely’s City Hall: ‘Willard was out of control’ with Chief Days, says alderman, from the Union Leader