Classes started a week ago yesterday, but my old high school just started today. That is insanely late if you ask me. If they have any snow days, then they’re going to sit in that building until the end of June. At the risk of getting burned at the stake, I think this is one of the ways that it hurts the students. We started the second of September and still had Labor day off. Why should Boston Public Schools have to wait until after Labor Day to start classes? Boston in particular and New England in general still have the school schedule from agrarian times, where kids had to wait until after the harvest to start school and still be available to help with the spring plantings. We already know that the US is falling behind the other nations of the world in school testing and that it has one of the shortest school years (180 days or 36 weeks) I think the school leaders should change it. Add at least another two weeks to the school calendar. (Or maybe another 4 to bring it up to a nice even 40 weeks of school)
Also there needs to be some reform about the teacher unions. (Treading on thin ice here) In my school experience, I did not learn a lot in classes where the teacher was just ‘riding on their tenure’ – meaning the teacher did not do much in the class but was protected by the fact they had already taught a certain number of years. I was fortunate that the one teacher I had who was nearing retirement age wasn’t for a vital class. But my brother, who was two grades behind me got the same teacher for a vital class. From what I heard, she didn’t start their Senior Paper, a graduation requirement, until all the other Senior English classes had started theirs and were a couple weeks ahead. I don’t think we need to fire these teachers or punish them. I think instead, the schools should work with the unions to work out a system that rewards teachers for, well teaching, once they reach tenure. Get these elder teachers to teach again and share their experiences with the students!
Although as I am writing this, I realized that students have very little control over their education. I think Boston is very fortunate to have a seat on the School Committee reserved for students to give input. However I don’t think may BPS students were aware that they had a representative on the committee. But did you ever stop and realize that the majority of the people controlling the lives of young people are over 40? They never seem to remember what it was like for them when they were our age either.