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BPS gives up for now on plans to close and consolidate lots of schools

The Dorchester Reporter reports.

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Just went down the drain... between internal expenses and consulting fees, which will only be incurred again the next time BPS plays musical superintendent chairs?

Those vacant buildings could be used for housing folks stuck in hotels and the airport

Voting closed 47

It's safety and a minority of the students that create issues for the majority of the students that are there to learn.

If that one issue was addressed by allowing principals to discipline students and students facing consistent and appropriate consequences for their actions including being removed from school and sent to a different school or classroom that is set up to handle students with behavior issues BPS would stop loosing students.

Go back completely back to neighborhood schools too, renovate the buildings over the summers like colleges do to make them more energy efficient and create multi building campuses so clusters of schools located close to each other can share resources.

And please add another exam school in the Hyde Park, West Roxbury or Roslindale area.

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The failure was in failing to address the failed policies that led to busing - aka RACISM.

Go back to the library and look it all up.

Busing would never have happened if the Boston Public Schools had addressed the racism when it was obvious that the Feds were not tolerating such racism - about 10 years before the Judge was left with zero other options.

Go thank your local racist for the results of this racism.

Voting closed 47

there were an infinite number of "other options" available to Garrity other than the maximally disruptive busing plan, which was literally the opposite remedy from Brown v. Board of Education. Oliver Brown wanted his daughter Linda to be able to walk to the neighborhood school and not have to take a bus.

The Court could have used its supervisory power less disruptively to order equal distribution of resources and adjustment of disciplinary practices to remedy the shortfalls and abuses described in Kozol's Death at an Early Age. Walkable school district boundaries could have been adjusted.

Instead Garrity went all in on a punishment remedy, which is what it was, how it was seen, and what you imply was "deserved." Suburban shitlibs loved punishing those Southies and Townies, and you still hate them even though they're practically extinct.

It was an objective failure as the schools have become progressively more segregated.

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in what world would court mandated "equal distribution of resources" be less disruptive than busing? that idea wouldn't even fly today, much less in 1970s Boston.

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the world in which moving books, teachers and maintenance workers is less disruptive than busing hundreds of 8 year olds from Mattapan to Brighton and East Boston to Roxbury, and fracturing community cohesion by mandating that every kid on your street goes to a different school in a different neighborhood? Just a thought. Get serious.

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i don’t have to argue that busing was the best solution to know that even the appearance of giving undesirables a bigger portion of finite resources would be catastrophic. it’s the basis of nearly every conflict in this country’s history.

in contrast, your argument relies on what i consider to be a flimsy premise of busing as appeasement.

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Please submit a budge for said "neighborhood schools". Be sure to include the following expenses:
Cost of eminent domain to seize and demolish properties sufficient to build schools in every neighborhood
Cost of constructing new schools to current standards
Cost of additional staffing, including cafeteria, specialist and administration
Cost of walk-zone staffing for crossing guards, etc.
Cost of ADA compliant properties
Cost of other additional expenses resulting from loss of economies of scale

Next up, explain how you plan to pay for all of this and how you would maintain diversity across enclaves.

I mean, neighborhood schools would be cool if you could do that without the racism that let to busing and the systematic exclusion of children with disabilities, but how much would you pay?

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I assume you’re ok with their performance? If not, provide a solution for, IMO, the failing of BPS (highest cost per student in the US, terrible performance outside of exam schools, constant violence in schools, etc).

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Although I'd define it rather differently than you do.

I'm merely pointing out that the nostalgia for "neighborhood schools" has two problems: 1) the actual history of why they went away (convenient redlining tool) and, 2) the cost of running so many smaller facilities.

It's easy to reminisce about the good old days while not confronting these realities. If you want them, go ahead and spend the money on them, and deal with the challenges of maintaining parity.

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Swirly's solution to the problems of city schools is to live in a suburb.

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Suburbanites live in a nearly all white town and scream racism about everything.

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When one has chosen to self-segregate into a mostly white suburb and has chosen to send her children to public schools which are also majority-white.

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BPS is paying to bus students out of their neighborhood today to a school parents prefer. The money saved in reduced busing costs could pay for more programs at each school.

And each school could be partnered up with community partners, businesses to help fund or provide servises to the school.

And the biggest benefit to neighborhood schools is parents would be more motivated to get involved in their kids school if they didn't have 5 other school choices to move them to if they weren't happy with the school their kid attends which is what happens today. There is 5 elementary schools within 2 miles of my house.

And creating clusters of schools that share specialists would help to make resources shared between schools so every school could have some amount of art, music, theatre and world language, maybe some would be part of an afterschool program to help with scheduling. Maybe kids actually switch schools throughout the week for after school programs. It could be 2 days at one school that has art and 3 days at another school that has has music...many schools are only a mile or less apart. Local theatres and other community resources could become partners at each school.

And BPS does need to close 10- 25 % of schools, they really just need to start that process!

And there is currently inequality in BPS, take the programs offered at the Elliot vs. Most other elementarty schools. Busing hasn't fixed inequality, it's just changed the schools that are under resourced as neighborhoods of Boston gentrify and certain schools attract parents with time and money to donate.

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Sketch out a workable plan that addresses the past issues and the current requirments. Then make your case to the city and your neighbors.

You can talk endlessly about all these options - put a number on them.

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They won't listen to anyone outside BPS, including the department of education that has been threatening a takeover for a few years now. That is a big reason they have been disfunctional for 50 years now. And they definately don't make decisions based upon numbers such as enrollment or they would have closed atleast 10% of their schools ASAP!

And many of my neighbors don't send their kids to BPS due to safety / behavioral issues at local schools so they aren't invested in BPS changing. The ones that do send their kids to BPS are to intimidated to speak out since many of them work for BPS or for the city or state and have gotten harrased or faced retaliation by BPS administration for speaking out for change.. Parents have too many choices for schools in Boston between multiple BPS elementary schools, multiple charter schools ( many have waiting lists) and private schools ( which all have high enrollment and larger class sizes than BPS do)

Keep in mind BPS employs thousands of teachers and administrators that will fight for their jobs , and they fight dirty sometimes.

In 2010 BPS employed 4352 staff, now after a significant enrollment decline in 2021 BPS employed 4256 teachers plus other staff, so enrollment is dropping but staffing has increased, since there are so many high need students, some actually are being sent into Boston Public Schools from surrounding towns such as Brocton and Randolph since those districts can't or won't provide legally mandated services to the students.

Their budget is around $1.4 Billion, which is about a third of Bostons overall budget!

There is so much politics inside BPS, someday a great movie will be made about it !

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“It's not that we have too many seats,” she told the School Committee. “It's that we don't have enough high-quality seats, particularly for students with particular learning needs. Closures will be a part of our long-term work, but we need to continue to invest in our schools for both in terms of high-quality instruction and in terms of facilities so that all students have access to great schools.”

If you don't have enough high-quality seats, why are you continuing to blow hundreds of millions of dollars a year on low-quality seats that are empty or serve no one well?

Closing schools with low enrollment frees up money which can be spent on the remaining schools to better serve their students. Or is the point more that education of the students is secondary to all the other vested interests here?

Voting closed 40

BPS exists to serve three purposes:

1. Employ around 8,000 people, roughly half of whom are not teachers
2. Warehouse kids during the workday
3. Provide an education

They have been failing quite consistently at #3 for decades, the truancy data in recent years suggests failure at #2 is also tolerated, but if anything threatens #1--clutch those pearls tight!--we are in for a iron cage match.

I don't begrudge any parents in the city a massive amount of distrust in whatever promises BPS makes to handle something thoughtfully, but unfortunately this is a case where legitimate concerns align well with some embedded interests whose main interest is to milk the cow.

The upshot of this will simply be to reduce the resources available to students and their teachers, while continue to sail the city budget straight towards the falls in a barrel. This ain't gonna end well for nobody.

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Failure to do the tough stuff like this makes me a lot more willing to consider other mayoral candidates next November.

I appreciate the green energy, municipal compost, bike lanes, etc., but when the rubber hits the road on the core issues and things keep dragging on like this, I'm ready to move on unless something big happens in the next year.

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We are making progress on global climate change though.

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Your point?

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For our school system and every year it increases, and it's close to being taken over by the state every two years or so.
It an embarrassment.
We had to pull our oldest out when he got to high school age because the assignment he received was one of the worst schools in the State (according to the DOE website it said "overall, our school is among the lowest performing high schools statewide".)
4 years later, it still says the exact same thing.

They can't even close and consolidate schools when needed.

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There is never a plan B.

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