Joint Statement on Boston Public Schools’ Re-evaluation of Bell Times

Joint NAACP and Lawyers’ Committee Statement on Boston Public Schools’ Re-evaluation of Bell Times

We appreciate the responsive engagement the district initiated this week to hear from families and stakeholders who would be most impacted by the sweeping changes in school start times, as well as the appropriate delay in switching start times for our elementary school students.  We continue to support changing high school start times due to the academic benefit it can provide our older students.  That said, given the concerns we heard from high school students and their parents, we hope this delay will enable Boston Public Schools to change secondary school start times in a way that minimizes disruption to after school activities, student jobs, and the ways our older students help care for their younger siblings.

As always, our organizations remain ready to provide the district with guidance on this and all matters of educational equity.  We will work to ensure that, as a city, we do not lose sight of the following factors in 2018:

1. Any racial equity assessment must include factors beyond equal distribution of varied start times given the realities of the racial economic inequities that exist in the city. Working families, especially those living at or below the poverty line, deserve a complete equity assessment and supports to fill any gaps;

2. Community engagement must not be an afterthought. The district should have a robust engagement plan of action and the school committee must hold the administration accountable for implementation thereof; and,

3. The transportation budget should not be balanced on our youngest, most vulnerable children.