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Not everybody happy with change in start times for Boston elementary schools

In fact, there's a petition against them.

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1) end busing on a voluntary basis(or altogether)- kids should be able to go to a school closer to them if parents deem this to be in their interests, preference should be given to families who live within x miles from said school, fill in the blanks with lottery or current system.

2)Latchkey kids- what happened to this? Is it illegal to let your child enter/exit their home by themselves? Walk home from the bus stop? I got myself to and from school until I got to high school, where I had to drive in with my mom until I got my licence. So basically my entire school life aside from 2 years. Are children incapable of this now or something?

Flame retardant suit on, I am prepared for breeders' anger....

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How do you think it currently works?

The entire problem is that quality schools aren't equally distributed around the city. Parents are always given preferential access to a school they can walk to but often times that is not the best school available. It would be easy to fill the West Rox and Rosi schools with only local kids but then the kids who live in HP or Mattapan have less access to better schools, etc... I'm not telling some person from a poor neighborhood to throw in the towel on getting their kid the best education they can access.

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Current breeder here. I think it has to be case-by-case but I do see a fair number of grade school kids walking on their own (Winter Hill/East Somerville). I've been thinking about how long until I trust my 5yo to walk to school himself but honestly sometimes with this kind of thing my biggest (semi-serious) worry is someone calling DCF on us.

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The Somerville schools have busing only in limited situations. The schools will allow students to walk home alone starting in 4th grade (I think, might be 3rd), until then they need to be released to an adult. Parents are expected to supervise their K-2 children in the cafeteria/ playlot until 8:05am.

My understanding is that MA does not have a minimum age for leaving children home alone.

I have found that Somerville is pretty easy going about children going about their business without an adult. Maybe we slipped from the "go outside and come back when the street lights come on" era directly to free-range parenting, skipping the "we must monitor you 24-7" stage?

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Good grief, a 7:15am start for many elementary schools is ridiculous!

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It's crazy. Elementary-age kids aren't ready to learn that early. And dismissal at 1:15? How can parents work when their kids get out of school at 1:15?

BPS says these decisions are "data-driven" and based on research that shows high schoolers perform better with later school start times.' Great. But that's not what's driving the change in elementary start times. Busing is. If they're going to pretend the decisions are somehow rooted in science, then wouldn't all the elementary schools start about the same time and not over a period between 7:15 and 9:30? Instead, it's all about re-routing buses and staggering routes and not about start times times that allow school-age children to get a healthy night's sleep, commute safely to school, and be ready to learn.

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1:15 must be a typo.

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The proposed change would have the Haley kids going to school from 7:15am - 1:15pm. The Y afte rschool program runs till 6pm. If you are a parent who can't pick up till 6pm, your kid(s) would have to be at school 7:15am-6:00pm! Six hours of school instruction and five hours of after school programming.

Did BPS consult the Y programs? Most before and after programs are run by the local Ys. Do they even have the capacity? And honestly the price of after school will go up due to the extended hours required.

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Changing times for high school starts could not possibly have anything to do with elementary school bus availability, as kids in high school just get a T pass.

The rejiggering of the elementary school times has nothing whatsoever to do with data regarding high schoolers performing better later in the morning. It's a red herring.

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I have no dog in this race, but maybe they had to make the elementary school kids start earlier in order to maintain the staggered schedules between Elem, middle, and high school. In other words if they left the elementary schedule as is, wouldn't it have been to close to the new HS schedules?

But hey, you said it yourself. It's DATA! and "Studies Have Shown!". Look on the bright side. Testing scores are about to go through the roof! Because, 'Studies'!

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As well as this petition, you can call the office of Superintendent Tommy Chang at 617-635-9090 and email him at [email protected]

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Some schools that start at 7:15 will get out at 1:15. That is kinda nuts. I doubt that this petition or any parent blowback will actually change anything since they've been working on this for a while and one change to one school has ripple effects. However, they should just spend the extra 30 million or however much it would cost in order to get enough buses to at least move the earliest start time to 7:45 or 8am.

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Here they come. 7:15 is too early, screw the research!!!

Dollars to donuts, BPS bows to this pressure and changes start times back. This is why we can't make any progress in this city..

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What time do you start work?

And do you have children? If so, what time do they start school? I'm willing to bet it is not 7:15AM.

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I just happen to realize that this is not all about me.

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But when a whole bunch of "me" come together it forms a "we".

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research shows early starts for elementary school age kids has an adverse impact on learning.

it's not clear why the effort to reschedule high schools to have late starts requires changes in elementary school schedules. high school students take the T to school. the new schedule shows that in addition to changing start times of 21 high schools, they've also changed start times of 84 other schools, 105 in total out of 125 including many with 7 to 1 schedules which seems to be a problem for working parents.

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The research on high school kids may be convincing, but has been very little actual research done the sleep schedules and needs of Elementary school kids. A recent peer-reviewed paper in Sleep Health observed behavioral problems in elementary school children that may be correlated to early start times:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28346157

This paper and other research has led to a call for more research in this area specifically because many school districts are moving elementary schools earlier to accommodate later high school times.

This topic has a huge potential for unintended consequences, especially in the northeast where seasonal effects on sleep are very pronounced. The potential risk of making a bad decision is greater for the less developed brains of younger kids. There are no easy answer.

We can, however, take easy steps right now to address other sleep-related topics for everyone: greater awareness the importance of individual sleep habits, the effect of blue light and late screen time, the influence of daylight on sleep schedules. Such a public education program can start today with no negative impacts.

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Are the alleged benefits of the new start times so dramatic that they totally outweigh the problems and challenges implementing them will create?

For that matter, did BPS even bother to consider the potential negatives of this plan? Or did they just let themselves be blinded by the "science" they are using to justify this plan?

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What research are you referring to exactly? BPS has referred to the American Academy of Pediatrics research in their switch to later start times for high school students. If you read it before saying "7:15 is too early, screw the research" then you'd know that that same research used to change high school start times also notes that elementary school kids should not start before 8. When you do go read it, you'll also notice their research has shown that elementary students who start earlier than their peers who start after 8, have lower academic performance. So what research is it exactly that we're ignoring?

Quite frankly, I can make any of their schedules work but it's actually not about ME.

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Forgive my ignorance as I do not have school age children, but what exactly is the point of busing in the Boston Public Schools in 2017? There was a reason for it in 1974 when Boston Public Schools were clearly segregated, but in this day and age when Boston schools are nearly 90% students of color (correct my figure if it's wrong) what does busing achieve except a game of musical chairs? I bring all this up because it seems the busing issues are causing the start time issues.

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Good schools aren't equally distributed around the school and it isn't as easy as just removing busing.

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Busing distributes the kids into good schools and bad schools. Certainly there's some effect of school management on education, but teachers and principals can't magically overcome what kids have going on outside of school: busing algorithms "guess" which kids are good and which kids are likely to be trouble, then sorts them out into different schools so the extreme outliers are spread through the system, mitigating their impact on everyone.

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I mean METCO students are out at bus stops at 5:30-6 am and they do well. But anyway, I thought these changes were for the new school year, not right around the corner! They absolutely should have allowed families to have input.

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And the outreach BPS has done has been extensive. I have gotten a ridiculous amounts of emails, robocalls, notices home, etc. to encourage me to share my input.

And yes, two of our family's three schools are switching to 7:15.

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So you would need to define "do well".

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But they are also going to some of the highest quality schools in the state. And these schools have specific programs designed to assist in the transition for these kids, like host families and guidance. Unfortunately not all BPS elementary, middle and high schools are of the same educational quality, resourced and supportive as the schools in Newton, Brookline, Weston, Wellesley, etc.

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