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GETTING IN | INSIDE BOSTON’S SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT MAZE

Second roll of the die has a lot at stake

By Meghan E. Irons
Globe Staff / March 13, 2011
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Jeff and Kimesha Rogers of Roxbury are counting on luck this year.

It most definitely was not on their side three years ago, when their first-born son, Jaiyere, 7, failed to get into any of the seven schools they had chosen for him. But this year, they hope, will be different — has to be different — as they enter the fray again to win a spot for their 3-year-old son, Chief.

Back then, they had a choice; they were able to scrape together enough money to send Jaiyere to a parochial school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Mission Hill. But they say they cannot afford to send two children to private school. And they can’t afford to send Chief to a poor city school, either.

“If I don’t give the school a B-plus, then he won’t go,’’ Jeff Rogers said. “I’m going to find a way to get him into a good school.’’

Jeff Rogers, 29, is a senior family partner at Children Services of Roxbury, which helps disadvantaged children and their families. Kimesha Janey-Rogers, 29, is a district manager at the retail company Expressions, where she sometimes logs 15-hour days. The couple, who grew up attending Boston public schools, live in a spacious, neat single-family house on a dead-end street.

Frustrated that Jaiyere did not get any of his picks, Kimesha Janey-Rogers turned over this year’s school decisions to her husband, who is anxious to find out where the school district will send his little boy.

He has picked just three schools, all in Roxbury: Hernandez, Mason, and Haynes. He likes Hernandez’s bilingual immersion program, and that Mason is an award-winning pilot school. Haynes, he said, is near his home. They also are considering charter schools.

Jeff Rogers wants Chief to attend a neighborhood school where children are expected to excel instead of simply get by. But, he said, he is facing reality.

If Chief does not get into a school of his satisfaction, then Rogers might be forced to send him to a school out of the neighborhood. And that runs contrary to Rogers’s commitment to Roxbury.

“For me, it’s a little bit of unrepentant hypocrisy,’’ Rogers said. “I know I want the Boston Public Schools to be strong and my pride in Roxbury is very high. But if you say, ‘Jeff, can we take your kids and put them in a random school in Roxbury?’ I’d have to say ‘no thanks.’ ’’

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