After hearing from many disgruntled parents, staff and stakeholders, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang announced the plan to change start and end times for the 2018-2018 school year has been cancelled.
The Boston School Committee approved the plan earlier this month to alter start and end times, which quickly drew criticism, and forced BPS to holding citywide meetings about the plan.
The biggest issue with the plan was that many elementary schools would’ve started at least two hours earlier than 2017-2018. In Jamaica Plain alone the Hennigan, Manning and Mission Hill K-8 School would’ve started at least two hours earlier in the 2018-2019 school year compared to 2017-2018. The JFK school would’ve started more than an hour earlier. The schools would’ve also ended earlier.
Parents voiced their concerns about putting their elementary school age children on buses in the dark and not knowing how they’d provide childcare if schools ended before 2 pm. Many politicians voiced their disagreement with the plan, and an online petition was started to “stop immediate changes on school start times in Boston.”
“I know we all share a collective desire to improve the quality of our schools. To achieve this, we must build a sustainable school system that addresses head-on the structures that drive inequity,” wrote Chang in a letter to the BPS community. “We took a step in that direction with the passage of a new policy last month by the Boston School Committee that seeks to correct inequities that exist within our current start and end times due to a legacy of historical decisions.”
Chang said he thought the plan would’ve helped support academic success for all ages, but he recognized “the shifts to many school start times caused a more significant disruption to family schedules than we intended.”
The cancellation of the plan quickly drew praise online from parents and politicians, including District 6 City Councilor Matt O’Malley.
Just received an email from BPS announcing there will be NO changes to the start/end times for the 18/19 school year. Beyond grateful to the countless parents who organized against this plan & stood up for their school communities. Thank you, BPS, for listening. #No7to1 #bospoli
— Matt O'Malley (@MattOMalley) December 22, 2017
And while school start and end times will remain the same next year, Chang added BPS will continue to develop a new schedule for start and end times for future school years “that is grounded in equity and better meets the needs of our students and families.”
But the next plan will involve more people in the decision making process, said Chang. “I look forward to gathering a wider circle of voices from across the city. We want to provide greater opportunities for everyone to share their viewpoints, expertise, and experiences and offer concrete solutions to this challenge as well as the many others that face us.”