Interview with Evelyn Morash

Can you tell us about what your experiences were with the Boston school committee?


With the Boston school committee. First, I had a horrible encounter with, actually, it wasn't with the Boston school committee. It was with a Boston administrator when one of my children was in junior high school. And the class size was, we felt was too big. It was over the limit. And the local, the teachers couldn't do anything about getting an ex- an extra class put in. And, ah, I had called, tried to put pressure on to bring that class size down, get another teacher, another classroom put in the school. And I was told that that could only be done for kids with learning disabilities. And I you know, screamed and I said, ah, you know, "I think this is highly unjust. These kids need extra help because they're bright kids." And I, I remember calling and inviting the parents of all the kids in that class to this house and they all showed up because they all had a vested interest in their kids. And we pressured that school department to get an extra class in there. That was one of my first real encounters with the Boston school department. Ah, I had other encounters with the home and school association that I was unhappy with. I always felt the home and school association was nothing more than a company union. Ah. And they dealt with people school by school. They used the lovely term that the home, local home and school associations were autonomous entities. It was a nice way of saying we don't want you talking to anybody else. And I had gotten involved with the, ah, school volunteers. School vol- Boston school volunteers knew how many s- texts, not text books, real fun books for kids. Library books had been bought with the easy money, the elementary and secondary education act money, that was still locked up in boxes. They'd been bought and never opened. So school, and the excuse, "We used the money because we would have lost the money. So we bought the books but we haven't had the resources to get the books on shelves." So they asked, they tapped me would I go down. This was at the junior high school. Ah. At that time I had, my three oldest children were in school. And I have three, I have three children together. A group of three children and then I have two younger ones. Interesting that a lot of people don't know, at that point in time didn't know about the two younger ones. I don't know why. I never kept them hidden. But they didn't know they existed. Probably because I was also working at the time. I worked part-time jobs so that I could also get involved in school activities. But anyway, I got involved with the library program. And we got a great library going down at the Barnes Junior High School. And that was the key school to get one going in East Boston. Once we got that one going we started spinning off and setting up libraries in all the other, ah, in the elementary schools. And it was a link between the home and school associations and we had volunteers in all the schools. So we started talking together. And we found out that we, you know, had pretty common problems. But, ah, every time any of the individual home and schools went to the school department or the school committee they got a different answer. So we were all getting played off differently. And we formed an organization of East Boston, well we called our organization East Boston Association of Home and School Associations. And I got in a real hassle--