Boston's new provisions called generous but exclusionary

Boston's new provisions called generous but exclusionary

Boston's new provisions called generous but exclusionary

A defender of the civil rights of Catholics in the public forum is criticizing Boston's elected officials for penalizing certain students.

In her recent State of the City Address, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu (D) announced a new program to allow K-12 public school students and up to three guests free entrance to the city's museums on the first and second Sundays of each month – a blessing C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts says could amount to about $100 per student per visit, or about $1 million per year.

None of the included entities will waive admission fees. Instead, they will simply transfer admission costs from individual students to the School Department, which is funded from the city treasury. Additional funds will be provided by a so-called public-private partnership between the city and various civic, corporate, and philanthropic donors.

"While the provisions are generous, they're also exclusionary," Doyle notes. "Private, along with home school children, will be denied eligibility for this benefit, as will students who attend charter schools and students who participate in the METCO program, which buses kids to suburban schools."

There are 20 Catholic schools in the city, for example, and among those, 7,000 students are enrolled.

"Mayor Wu needs to be reminded that these students are residents of the city, and their parents are citizens and voters and taxpayers in Boston," Doyle submits. "No child should be penalized because their parents made the lawful decision, the lawful choice to enroll that student in a school which is not controlled by the city government, by the city's teachers' union."

Two members of city council – former Council President Ed Flynn (D) and Councilor At-Large Erin Murphy (D) – have filed a resolution to expand the program to encompass all of Boston's school children, regardless of their faith.