BPS cancels start-time changes

School Superintendent Tommy Chang announced today he's scrubbing plans to start more elementary kids earlier and high-school kids later for the coming school year.

Over the past few weeks, we have heard from families, staff, and stakeholders that there are concerns with the implementation of the new start and end times policy. After reflecting on this feedback, we understand that while the new schedule would achieve our goal of supporting academic success for all ages, the shifts to many school start times caused a more significant disruption to family schedules than we intended. That is why I have decided not to implement the new start and end times that we have proposed for the 2018-2019 school year.

As Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, I am deeply committed to joining together with the broader community to get this right and to invest our time in solving these complex issues.

Going forward, we will focus our efforts on continued and improved engagement with all of our families and community members to solve the problems necessary to build a more coherent school system. This includes developing a new schedule of start and end times for future school years that is grounded in equity and better meets the needs of our students and families. We must share a collaborative spirit, and work together to find solutions to repair the institutional inequities that persist.

After the changes were announced, parents of elementary-school students who might have to be in school by 7 a.m. began increasingly vociferous protests - even at a Christmas-tree lighting in West Roxbury. Protests continued at meetings called by BPS this week; parents were also planning a protest outside Mayor Walsh's re-inauguration on Jan. 1.

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Sigh : /

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n/t

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Boston schools should be broken up

The system is just too big for the administration, which is bloated but not able. The superintendent has little effect at the school level. There's a disconnect. In smaller cities nearby that have the same number of poor black and Hispanic students at least you can get the superintendent on your problem. Doesn't happen in Boston.

At least they should be able to handle district-wide issues like buses but they have no trust in the community because they bungle the small issues repeatedly.

Thing take forever to change in the bps and sometimes never change until somebody working there keels over.

You really need the neighborhoods to finally give up on the system and go their own way, but they are entranced by the golden possibility of Latin School and that it will get their kid into Harvard. It's a legend and a lie.

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penny wise, pound foolish

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i wish parents and everyone else brought this type of anger and mob mentality to the anti-student teachers' union.

that would actually have an impact on BPS. you could have the most perfect start times for every single school and it wouldnt improve the quality one bit.

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BPS had finally done something smart

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by pushing back high school start times and now is not going to do it?? Enough with the city, its schools, parents, and students being beholden to bus schedules! Either find the money to have enough buses for students so that schools don't have to start at unreasonable hours or go back to neighborhood elementary schools already!

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Two reasons

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Not all schools are equally good, so you'd wind up with kids going to bad schools. That's why we have the current sort of un-zone system - when parents get their lottery lists, they always have at least one Level 1 school listed, even if it's not in their walk zone.

Not all schools are even distributed, so you'd wind up with some neighborhoods without enough schools. At the Christmas-tree thing, when one parent asked Walsh your question, he said West Roxbury would need two brand-new schools to meet the demand.

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Voting is closed. 45

So we bus first graders

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The elementary schools have been out of sync for almost 50 years. The reason for the original busing. Maybe we need plan to help the under performing schools and make the system more even for everyone. You know like extended day, pre K for all. Instead we have the unwieldy and awful Zones and school lottery.
nothing changes except for time and mayors

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Voting is closed. 57

Sooooo.........

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Someone ends up in the bad school, right? At least if you had community schools the parents/neighbors could advocate improvements - much like they did with the start times. So it ok for a child to go across town to a rundown school, but not across the street?

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Mattahunt

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Parents fought really hard to save their neighborhood school The Mattahunt last year but apparently their voices weren’t loud enough.

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Explain that

While not blaming "those" students that get bused into "good" schools.

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You can't

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and it does not involve calling kids bad either.

Some kids have all of their primary needs met outside of school, and are able to focus on their learning, thereby performing above their peers academically Some kids do not have all of their primary needs met out of school, and are not able to focus on their schooling, therefore performing below their peers. Some kids have special needs that require special acommodations, without which they cannot perform at the same level of their peers. Some kids have special needs that make them incapable of performing at the same level of their peers no matter how much help they get, ex: children with significant cognitive differences, and the focus needs to be on maximizing their potential against themselves, not others.

The reality is, when you group all of the kids who have all of their primary needs met outside of school into one school, you end up with a "good" school. When you group all the kids who do not have their primary needs met outside of school, you end up with a "bad" school. Even though the kids at the "good" school are not necessarily good (I went to a "good" school, plenty of those kids were abjectly terrible human beings) and the kids at the "bad" school are not necessarily "bad", but have the deck stacked unfairly against them in life. When you bus/lottery, you are making sure that there is a blend of kids such that the "needs met" kids balance out the "needs not met" kids on paper when the test scores come in. You're not creating a "good" school or "better" kids.

The problem with diluting the kids with diverse needs is that there's a certain extent of economy of scale in schooling. It's hard to get a dedicated support employee, or training in a particular challenge facing a subset of children, if the school doesn't have enough kids in need of (specific support) to justify spending the money. Nonprofit partners will pass mixed schools over for ones that have a critical mass of kids in need of whatever help they are offering: the same goes for partnerships offering "extras" that kids whose needs are already met have the extra bandwidth for.

It is a complicated issue.

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Voting is closed. 40

So?

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So build the two more schools already! If you ask me, almost every school building in the BPS inventory needs to be replaced, or gutted to the studs, anyway. We should be getting 2 new schools a year, every year, until they are all replaced. We had better start now, because that is going to cost billions of dollars. Implement a new, school-specific, property tax applicable to both residential and commercial property that can be used solely to fund education. Allow parents total predictability on where (and when) their kids will go to school based on where they live, not a lottery or ever changing zone. Hold the principals of the schools accountable for the performance of the teachers in the schools, and the school system, writ large, responsible for ensuring that any struggling school get the resources it needs to address the needs of the kids that go to the school. Otherwise, its all just a numbers shell game as kids move in and out of schools over and over to get to the "good" ones.

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The money finds itself

Transportation costs $100 million a year for BPS, that's 10% of the budget and higher than any other urban school system. Take that off the table and you've found your money to built the new schools.

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Voting is closed. 45

Not so fast

First of all, where are you going to put schools? Eminent domain?

Secondly, you still have the busing while you build the new schools.

Third, if you want the state to foot part of the bill, there are ridiculous requirements for the amount of land needed. That's why Medford got the then MDC to hand over a brownfield for $1 so it would have the acreage needed (33 acres) to build two middle schools and one elementary school.

Can you say been there done that.

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MSBA

Mass. has a School Building Authority MSBA which approves school buildings and renovation in public school districts across the Commonwealth, It won't cover all of the renovation costs or all of the few new buildings BPS plans to build but it covers a lot of it. That is all capital budget.

Salaries, facilities' utilities, transportation and "other expenses" are annual expense budget.

Walsh BPS build project is mostly about renovation. He's budgeted $1b over 10 years. His people estimated the renovations of all BPS buildings would cost about $3,2b. Rather than do all the renovations over a longer time period Walsh wants to close schools. He may do it under the guise of grade re-alignment.

I'm not sure parents will want to be the ones to give up their nearby schools nor do I think they should have to. Also, by closing schools we're back to increasing transportation costs.

Home-based school assignment already decreases transportation when there is a good option nearby, In district school choice gives parents who are not satisfied with choices nearby a chance to get a good one on avg 5 miles away. This choice is an essential component of equity, and that is its purpose.

BPS transportation budget has cut costs with two initiatives. The savings have been gobbled up by increases in charter school transportation. We pay $2600/student/year for charter, #2100/student/year for BPS.

I hope the mayor's proposals to solve problems are the solutions BPS parents are looking for. I have a feeling they are not.

I don't know who has Marty's ear on schools but I don't think they have the same list of priorities as parents.

We spend about 34% of budget on BPS.

98 of out top 100 income earners on city payroll are employed by BPD.

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Classic quote from a BPS

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Classic quote from a BPS parent of privilege:

Not all schools are equally good, so you'd wind up with kids going to bad schools.

And busing solves this how? By bringing disenfranchised kids in from out of the neighborhood to attend the bad schools?

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Voting is closed. 48

Classic reply ...

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From somebody with no idea how BPS works.

No, it means a kid can get to a school better suited to home or her than the one down the street. That's why our kid ride a bus to another neighborhood.

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Voting is closed. 34

But for every kid bused to

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But for every kid bused to the "good" school that's a mile away from their home, that takes a seat away from a student who lives around the corner from the "good" school.

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Voting is closed. 57

Ever wonder

Why busing was ordered in the first place?

Takes a seat away? Seriously? Um, property taxes from the city as a whole go to the city as a whole. Why should their access to a good school depend on their location? Hmmm?

Think hard about what you just wrote.

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If you're a Boston parent of

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If you're a Boston parent of privilege, then you're not sending your kids to BPS.

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Hah!

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You don't really know anything about BPS, do you?

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Ha! No, I guess you're right:

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Ha! No, I guess you're right: I'm just some idiot product of a public school education from non-privileged parents.

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Voting is closed. 45

Such an apologist for this

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Such an apologist for this absurd system. If you’re convinced that these proposed start times were such a good thing for the kids, doesn’t minimizing busing by having neighborhood schools whenever possible buy them time in much the same way?

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Voting is closed. 34

Luck

And remind us which elementary school your daughter lucked into again?

I don't think IGMFY is a good basis for public policy.

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Voting is closed. 37

The Gordian knot of busing needs to end

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I don't get this "not all schools are equally good" theory. So this means that some kids are intentionally bused long distances from their neighborhoods into known inferior schools? What purpose does that serve? Or are they only bused out of those neighborhoods with the inferior schools into better schools while nobody goes to the inferior schools? Why not spend the effort and money of busing to just improve the schools? With almost 90% of BPS students being of color, this is not the desegregation era of 1974. The Gordian knot of busing needs to end.

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"bad schools"

What does that even mean? Bad teachers? Not enough school supplies? Not enough recess time compared to other schools? No sports opportunities? Class sizes that are too large?

What does that term mean in Boston?

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A lowering tide

Our pursuit of school equality has had the effect of making all schools worse. It may be an unintended consequence, but our busing regime, which still hangs on as so-called choice, has lead to a system with more segregation than Boston's schools had in the sixties. Parents leave because of the lottery, they leave because of busing, they leave because of the spectre of racism hanging over every successful "turnaround" of a "bad" school.

It would be expensive to build new neighborhood elementary schools. It would be expensive to fund neighborhood elementary schools in poorer neighborhoods so well that people with options start moving to those neighborhoods. It is much cheaper to do what we do now, and chase half the parents in Boston out to the suburbs or into private schools.

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Voting is closed. 38

I still don't get it.

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I certainly understand why elementary school parents wouldn't want their kids' start times to begin at 0715 and end at 1315.

But, why can't the high school kids still start at later times next year? The vast majority of them use public transportation to get to school.

Why can't this plan be phased in? Why are the high school start times married to the elementary start times? Is there an explanation other than bus schedules to explain this?

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The city finally puts high

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The city finally puts high schools on the right start time then they take it away. If I was a high school student I would be so mad.

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I am an actual high school

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I am an actual high school student and we are not mad. If the changes were implemented, our school would no longer have an indoor track team as the reggie lewis center is not able to make the time available rent-free after about 3 or so. this is just one of a laundry list of disruptions we were going to face, such as the loss of supplemental T trips or the inability to work.

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Voting is closed. 68

My children

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are actual BPS high school students and want to sleep later!! They are sick of having to leave the house by 6 am and be exhausted all day. One of my children went into school late one day and commented on how much better it was because she could actually stay awake and pay attention in her classes.

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Voting is closed. 46

There are children and adults

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There are children and adults who simply have a hard time functioning with early wake times. Perhaps the answer then is to have select high schools with a later start time for those teens, and the standard early start time for those students who have after school sports commitments and/or jobs.

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Voting is closed. 32

Can't you do what I had to do

Get up early to get the pool time? To get the soccer field time?

It isn't uncommon for high school athletes to have practice before school. Ice time, pool time, track time - all can be before or after classes.

Why should all high school students have to suffer for your after school activities?

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Voting is closed. 43

Some teens work to help pay

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Some teens work to help pay the family bills. Getting out of school late means they have less time for homework because they'll have to get to their jobs right after school. It's not all about sports. Kudos to you for getting up early to go swimming though.

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Voting is closed. 43

Way to go, West Roxbury!!!

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You screwed over those of us who wanted/needed the earlier start times, shamed us when we spoke up, spoke for us to the school Committee and media telling them what you presumed we wanted (which was really what you wanted) and then denied our existence. WBUR and Vaznis share the blame for this as well.

But hey, at least you and Bob Goodman are happy, right?

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Voting is closed. 54

Flip Flop Administration

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add this to the list with Olympics, Indy Cars, St Patrick's Parade route change etc etc.

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A flip flop

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Or doing the right thing?

Honestly, I prefer a leader who realizes his or her mistakes over one ho keeps on going when evidence arises that it is the wrong course.

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You are correct

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That's a lot of mistakes.

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Can't flip flop if you don't take part

I can't speak for all of them but there wasn't even a staff member from Walsh's office at the neighborhood meeting I went to. It was brought up by several people in attendance, my favorite comment asked, "What tree lighting is going on tonight that is so important that he couldn't be here?"

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Voting is closed. 38

Exactly

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It’s the M.O. of City Hall going back 20 years- take credit for the success and leave the bad moves in the realm of the departments. And in the end, the plan was the work of people working for the BPS.

Still, are you claiming the Mayor’s office didn’t get the gist of what was said at the meeting?

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Rule #7

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Stay away from toxic decisions.

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Something about that letter

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I find that letter really weird.
It is three times longer than it needs to be, to say:
"I didn't realize this would be so unpopular.
But, I'm on the side of equity.
Let's talk more later."
Seems like there's a lot between all the extra lines that I can't parse. I wish there was an annotated copy.

In short, it has a lot of nice words in it, but it makes me want to run away.

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School administrators

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Often have difficulty saying in one word what they can say in three.

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Ah, Boston has the school

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Ah, Boston has the school system it carefully crafted and it citizens have accepted and deserve.

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Voting is closed. 34

This is the best thing to happen to the BPS in years.

Though unintended this bureaucratic faux pas demonstrates how to move a school system in a positive direction. Parental ownership. The most vocal parents appear to be middle class white people from Roslindale and West Roxbury. Although I haven't seen it yet I expect the usual suspects will deem them racist by virtue of privilege expecting everyone to then retreat into their corners. I sense this may not work this time as the mouthpiece of elitism is mired in a scandal which highlights its ever present hypocrisy.

It shouldn't and won't happen over night but the end of busing is imminent. The city must create neighborhood schools that are equally effective in educating regardless of zip code. It is not impossible.

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Amazing

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we haven't heard from the "so called" School Committee.

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