Start-time protesters greet mayor, Santa in West Roxbury

Marty Walsh in front of protest signs

Walsh tries to get kids ready for Santa as parents protest behind him.

West Roxbury's usually festive Christmas-tree lighting at Washington and Grove streets turned a little more serious today as parents protested Boston Public Schools' plans for earlier start times at many elementary schools.

Before the mayor and Santa arrived, City Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) said he would join Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) in voting against the entire school budget this spring if the plans are not changed or if BPS doesn't put the plans on hold for a year to get them right.

Santa arrived in a firetruck and got out in a crowd of protesters:

Santa and protesters

When Mayor Walsh arrived, he followed his usual routine of shaking hands, posing for photos and high-fiving kids, but this time he also had to plead with parents to give the school department more time this week to listen to them at a series of meetings across the city - starting Monday at the Roche Community Center in West Roxbury.

Walsh said the meetings will help him and Superintendent Tommy Chang figure out what to do about starting times, changed partly to let high-school kids get to school later, partly to reduce the number of elementary kids getting out after 4 p.m. and partly to save money by increasing the number of routes buses in the system can do from three to four.

Walsh said among the options is the one favored by many of the parents he talked to: A year-long moratorium on any schedule changes, to let BPS better take into account the impact on many families - and any changes that might come from changing the overall grade configurations of Boston schools.

Walsh and protesters

Walsh said he appreciated the passion of the parents, said the School Committee only approved the idea of new start times after numerous meetings at schools around the city, said many parents actually support the plans but are reluctant to go public, but acknowledged not all parents were at the meetings. When the School Committee approved the shakeup, it did not have specific schedules in hand - those were only created by a bank of MIT computers after the vote.

Not a lab rat
Young protesters

At least one parent Walsh spoke to said she also knows other parents reluctant to speak out, because English is not their first language, and that there are even more parents upset about earlier start and end times for elementary kids, which would seriously disrupt their days.

Parents told Walsh they never got the sense school officials much listened to them - especially if they have kids at different schools - and said the calls for parent participation were only in English.

Protesters did not chant and kids still got to sit on Santa's lap.

Sign referring to an NAACP statement:

NAACP says plan not equitable
Walsh and protesters

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Comments

I haven't been following

Somebody said with a straight face that kids should start school at 7? That's one of the dumbest things I've ever read.

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7:15 to 1:15 is a school day

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7:15 to 1:15 is a school day schedule that is out of sync with the rest of the family. iIt puts stress on young kids by getting them up early and keeping them in after school care from 1:15 to 6, which isn't cheap. Sleep studies show harmful effects of sleep deprivation on kids this age who need 10-12 hours a day. And about 4% of the elementary schools in the US use this schedule. Recently Seattle considered it and dropped it. They went to 8am and 9am, just two start times.

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Testimony at School Committee

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BPS parent and medical researcher Kristi Schaefers reviews research on sleep for young children from CDC: 10-12hrs per day, life long consequences on cognitive maturation, social competency and communication skills when less. WATCH

Bostonians speak on new Start Times, Boston School Committee, December 13, 2017 starts with Ed Coppinger, Matt O'Malley, Annissa Essaibi-George. WATCH

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Young kids go to bed early

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If they aren't, consider dropping some of those recitals and tutors and practices and other needless nonsense.

It shouldn't be a challenge to tuck them in by 8 pm on a school night.

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Tell that to the MBTA

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If you have kids in elementary and they are starting later than 8:15, you are screwed on your commute and on getting to work by 9am.

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More Marty's new start time schedule meetings on for tonight

Hernandez School Mom tells BPS officials proposed school start times would keep her child away from home 11 hours a day. That's a long day. I was away 8 hours hours in elementary school 7:30 bus got me home at 3:30

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Times

Why did they (MIT) need to wait until the start times were approved to actually do the math?

How could they possibly vote on revised times before knowing what exactly the times would be?

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You gotta love how the actual

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You gotta love how the actual race card, 2nd to last picture, is being played in this argument. I guess clocks are racist now too.

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Gotta love how you're wrong

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Maybe I've been paying too much attention to this issue, but one of the whispers coming up over the past couple of days is how the protests are just by a bunch of entitled white people in West Roxbury. In fact, the NAACP (and a civil-rights lawyers' group whose name I can never remember but is not the ACLU) are also upset about the plans. It's not a racial issue - it affects parents across the city. I didn't talk to the parent holding the sign, but you might be able to tell she is not white.

As for the clock, dude, the whole thing focuses on start times, you know, the things you can discern by looking at a clock.

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That's them

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Thanks, like I said, I can never remember their name (even after having just written about them like three days ago).

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It's okay to say you don't

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It's okay to say you don't understand.
It's okay to not understand.
Let me try to explain.

There exists scientific data that shows that transportation (cars, light rail, buses) gets harder the poorer the neighborhoods are. This is classism. Wealthy people and their neighborhoods have better transit options.

There exists scientific data that shows in Boston, the poorer communities are where less white people live and more people with higher melanin production live. This is racism or maybe it's cousin racial segregation.

There are some other factors like migration patterns and language and such. But mostly racism through banks and redlining...

So you see, when a change is made, while it may seem equal, because of the previously mentioned "start times affect everybody" theory, in practice the change creates a disparate impact on those poorer, darker skinned people and their neighborhoods. It's "inequity" not to be confused with "inequality" like the sign said !

All a tad more complex than a "racist clock" or "the race card".

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Yes but the causality is backwards

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"Wealthy people and their neighborhoods have better transit options."

People will pay a premium for desirable neighborhood amenities. Therefore, a neighborhood with good transit access will cost more and a neighborhood with poor transit access will cost less.

This then compounds because wealthy people have the means to complain to the government more than poor people, so their nice neighborhood gets nicer and therefore more expensive.

In periods of time and cities where transit access was considered undesirable, it was/is cheap to live near the subway. Hence gentrification patterns, with people paying tons of money to live in formerly undesirable neighborhoods, because they'd rather live near the subway than the highway.

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Biased results from meetings

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Those most likely to be negatively impacted are often those least able to attend meetings due to work schedules or actively participate due to language barriers. You can't assume that those who show up are representative of all parents. And you can't assume that not showing up means lack of caring.

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Agreed but...

are you saying you think most parents are fine? Because I think the meetings were heavily against the new start times for K-5 kids and I don't think the parents who can't/didn't show are for the new start times...

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I'm struggling to think who

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I'm struggling to think who would want to a) get kids ready at 6 AM and b) have a kid under 10 out of school at 1:15. People who work very specific overnight jobs perhaps.

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Also, the earlier meetings

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Also, the earlier meetings didn't have this specific plan on the table, it was a more general discussion about school changes and priorities. It's possible for people to support 'Kids get out by 4pm' as a concept, but then disagree when the actual implementation is 'School now starts at 7:15 and lets out at 1:10'.

There are also schools that already released at 4pm or earlier that are getting moved even earlier anyway - presumably to facilitate bus routes.

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Nope, these changes do not

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Nope, these changes do not apply to the charters. In fact, charters get to chose their bell times first (and BPS has to provide and pay for the transportation) and then BPS kids get the left overs. Yet another way in which charters are destroying our public schools.

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No, they don't. BPS can't

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No, they don't. BPS can't dictate charter school start times.

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BPS proposed opening bell

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BPS proposed opening bell

29 x 7:15-7:25
15 x 7:30
03 x 7:45
16 x 8:00
09 x 8:15
22 x 8:30-8:35
07 x 8:45
05 x 9:00
09 x 9:15
17 x 9:30
02 x ? Dever,UP

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Do your homework.

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The Catholic and Charter schools in my neighborhood start at 7:30 and 7:15, respectively.

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Catholic School Start Times

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Which neighborhood? Even better, which schools?

Catholic School Start Times in Boston

Allston/Brighton is 7:45.
North End 8
Charlestown 8
Dorchester 7:30, 7:30, 7:30, 7:40, 7:50, 8:05, 8:20
East Boston 8:10
Jamaica Plan 8:05
Mattapan 7:30
Roslindale 8:00
Roxbury 7:30, 8:00
South Boston 7:40, 8:00
West Roxbury 7:45, 7:55, 7:55,

20 schools
0 x 7:15
5 x 7:30
5 x 7:40-7:50
7 x 7:55-8:00
3 x 8:05-8:10

Seattle went with two start times for public schools, 8 and 9

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Mattapan

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Saint John Paul, where people pay thousands in tuition for before school that starts at 6:30am and goes until 6:00pm. They have 4 other campuses as well. Apparently they didn't get the memo about early starts being racist or "an assault on working families."

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Commonwealth Charter School Start Times

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Commonwealth Charter School Start Times in Boston

Allston/Brighton 8:30
North End
Charlestown
Dorchester 7:35, 7:35, 8:00, 8:00, 8:00, 8:20, 8:30, 9:15, 9:15,
East Boston 7:45, 8:00, 8:00, 8:00
Hyde Park 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 8:00
Jamaica Plan 7:30, 7:35, 8:00
Mattapan 7:30, 7:45
Roslindale 7:45
Roxbury 8:00, 8:00, 8:00
South Boston
West Roxbury

27 schools
2 x 7:00 - 7:25
9 x 7:30 - 7:50
11 x 7:55 - 8:00
5 x 8:05 - 9:15

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Saint John Paul .. starts at

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Saint John Paul .. starts at 6:30am and goes until 6:00pm. They have 4 other campuses.

St John Paul II Columbia Rd Dorchester 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
St John Paul II Neponset Ave Dorchester 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
St John Paul II Dorchester Ave Dorchester 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM
St John Paul II Babson St Mattapan 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM

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Thank you for these breakdowns.

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Actually really helpful to see them this way. So 39/47 (83%) of Catholic & Charter schools in the city begin before or at 8am. Kind of puts a hole in these folks' arguments.

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How many of these protestors are progressive

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and really protesting because it's a convient excuse to protest Mahty because he's too white, too male, not 'progressive' enough, and not their desired candidate for mayor? How many are connected to the teacher's union? Just sayin'.

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Please

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They were parents from West Roxbury. Ward 20 (West Roxbury and a big part of Roslindale) went for Walsh 7,340 to 2,611 last month. And one of their biggest elected supporters, right up there with Matt O'Malley, is state Rep. Ed Coppinger. I don't think Coppinger would be in the running for chairman of your fever-dream progressive caucus.

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social hysteria in west roxbury?

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A lot of conservative Catholics in West Roxbury vote for Charlie Baker, Scott Brown and Marty Walsh. I don't know how Walsh won West Roxbury voters over by last November; they went for John Connolly four years ago. ....probably some kind of social hysteria.

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Teachers union? Help me out

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Teachers union? Help me out here, I'm a BTU member and a BPS parent and I have no idea what you mean. Personally, getting out of work at 1:30 would make my life easier, just think of all the dental appointments I could have!

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What time does class start at MIT?

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I'm sure they don't start at 7AM. Another problem the Mayor doesn't want to discuss is the safety of young kids riding the MBTA.

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Young kids don't ride the T

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Middle-school kids, yes, but the start-time issue is about little kids who either take a bus, walk or have their parents take them.

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K-8

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With the many K-8 schools in Boston, middle schoolers do/will start just as early as elem kids. Many are already starting at 7:25am. Even earlier just isn’t feasible!

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9am

For Adolescents/Adults, a 9am start time is just fine.

For little kids? Well, mine were ricocheting off of the walls by 6:00 or 6:30 AM when they were in elementary school. I would have preferred an earlier start than 8:40am. YMMV, of course.

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When did your kids go to bed?

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Seriously.

Junior is in his room and kissed goodnight by 8:30 school nights, and he’s never woken up on his own when one of us gets him up at 7 the next morning.

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I feel bad for Santa

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Mayor Walsh not so much.

This is democracy in action, getting in the mayor’s face and making him rethink Chang’s decision.

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Gee, Marty didn't get much

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Gee, Marty didn't get much hero mileage out of the plastic bag ban.

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He doesn't have to. He wants

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He doesn't have to. He wants the press distracted from the 950 million dollar IRS fine scandal and this asinine school plan fits the bill. Also: shame on you people claiming 7:15 is okay for elementary kids. Are you demented ?

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950 million dollars?

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You're off by a thousandfold there. And only $2,000 of that was an actual fine - the rest was unpaid back payments.

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A few facts...

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According to the Smart Start Facebook page, this "crowd" was 25 people.

BPS currently offers a range of elementary starts in the 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock and 9 o'clock hour. Each of those times work for different families. The most preferred start time overall was between 8 and 8:30. Under the new plan, each neighborhood will continue to have a range of start times offered to them between 7:15 and 9:15.

Many parents, like myself, are excited about the change. I have kids in three different schools, one with a significant disability. The earlier move means my younger kids will be getting off the bus around 2:30, rather than their current time of 3:45. But if you think I am going to go to one of these meetings and go up against an angry mob of unhappy parents, you're crazy.

So this group of very powerful parents keeps perpetuating its' story. They have drowned out the voices of those of us who welcome this change and keep asserting that they are speaking FOR us without talking TO us. So sad.

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Group of Very Powerful Parents?

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And you base this on what? That they are voicing their dismay over start times that do not work for them?

If you feel that your voices are being "drowned out" then you need to get on your own soap boxes and state your concerns. It is not fair of you to scold those who do (and have every right to do so, BTW) and then retreat and point your scolding fingers at them. If you don't want people to speak for you then you you need to speak up for yourselves.

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On the fact that they are

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mainly white, wealthy and include politicians, lawyers, doctors, etc. These are people giving a standing ovation to a politician saying that certain schools want to "opt out" of busing. Watch the testimony yourself, it's linked above. They don't want my opinion.

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Reread my comment

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My kids take the bus to school.

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Reread the comment thread

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Nobody was asking you.

Nobody was asking you.

Nobody was asking you.

They were asking the child-free non-Boston person who thinks that her car gives her special rights.

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Sorry.

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I thought it was directed at me. And definitely didn't mean to duplicate the post. My apologies.

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Irony

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Have you heard of it?

It is not fair of you to scold those who do (and have every right to do so, BTW) and then retreat and point your scolding fingers at them. I

I guess not.

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Here's a sampling of these Parents

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Matt Cregor- Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, (formerly of NAACP) Hernandez Parent- co-author of the LCCR/NAACP Letter

Johannah Haney- Reporter- WBUR (Manning Parent)

Rep. Ed Coppinger- Lyndon Parent
Sen. Mike Rush- Lyndon Parent

Erin Birmingham Anadu- Lawyers and Lyndon Parents
Tigran Eldred

There are plenty more I can list, but these are some of the more vocal ones. The privilege is staggering. Need any more clues why this is getting so much press? Also note the low turnout at meetings last night. But keep letting yourself be gaslighted.

Then you have the regulars who are always advocating for BPS, who, even though I don't always agree with, I honestly think care about all children in BPS. These two groups are currently working together. Don't worry, the rich folks are gonna get their way and drop the advocates like a bad habit.

Never change, Boston.

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in parent mtgs across Boston it's mostly 2 hours of opposition

44 out of 125 schools have been scheduled to start before 7:30 AM. At least 2 dozen of these would be starting two hours earlier. With this schedule, for every kid who has an after-school program you have a kid who has an after-school problem. No one coordinated with after-school programs. An 11 hour day for K-2 is too long. It's typically women and children who would have to make this longer day work. The mayor said they have not been able to demonstrate cost savings. He has said the new bus schedule would allow him to put bus budget savings in the classroom. When they realized after-school programs would be two hours longer he said they'd take the bus savings and spend it on after-school. For some reason, he's stuck on having 44 schools start before 7:30 and all the rationale for it keeps falling apart.

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We have a volunteer

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I suppose you will provide free care for the special needs child while his/her parents attend the meeting.

Right?

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What bothers me

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The question that I keep coming up against is "this is what gets people to school board meetings?" BPS has other massive problems including an achievement gap, facilities that are badly in need of updating, inequitable distribution of good schools across the city, and (one of my favorite things to complain about) really poor food service, among others. But a change to the school day is what gets people into the streets?

Seriously, I don't understand. BPS parents should be fighting mad all of the time, but I guess it's only when a change might affect your own school (and in this case, a WR school) that you pretend to care about inequities.

I suspect, next year when the MCAs scores come up showing a achievement gap, or 5 schools poor neighborhoods are shown to be failing, these same people will be tucked up nicely in their houses, reading the Globe, doing nothing.

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Sort of ridiculous.

A lot of the middle schools already start at 7, don't they? Where were all the protests for those poor suffering early risers and their oppressed families? What's with all this exaggerated, sanctimonious drama? This sort of self-centered parochial "passion" is a bit reminiscent of the old busing protests, if anything.

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Nailed it!

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NFT.

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