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Here is a report on the Boston student walkout that took place today.
Students protested Mayor Walsh’s budget cuts, which hurt every public school and were especially deep for students with disabilities.
Today the students of BPS chose to walk out again. Edward Tapia of Boston Student Advisory Council said, “The main reason why I am walking out is because I am tired of Marty Walsh playing with us as if we don’t know anything about the budget cuts, and also I want us to prove to the city that having the City Council hearings during school hours will not hold us back from advocating, empowering student voice and fighting for our rights.” Excel High School student Trinity Kelly said, “We’re telling Mayor Walsh we are not misinformed.” BPS student Gabi Pereira wrote, “I have a little brother with an IEP, his education is under attack and so is mine.”
The students are walking out to ask that BPS is fully funded, not only for themselves, but for their younger brothers and sisters, cousins, friends and the future students of BPS. Additionally, they want an end to high stakes testing because they feel that it’s being used against them as a tool to identify which “failing” schools to close. They want restorative justice practices implemented across the district and an end to overly punitive suspensions and expulsions.
The mayor told the media that there must be adults behind these walkouts; the implication was that kids are not smart enough to figure out what he is doing to their schools and that they don’t care.
He is wrong. And the students are proving to him that they know the score and they know they are being cheated.
The link includes a list of the cuts to each school. Gone are librarians; music programs; science classes; music departments; SPED programs.
Here is an example:
Boston Community Leadership Academy
• Losing over $500,000
• 1 Librarian, 1 math teacher, 1 science teacher, 1 history teacher, 1 theater teacher, 1 leadership coordinator
• Losing gym class
• Losing Strategies for Success (9th grade class helps kids get organized, read for meaning)
• Losing Numeracy (10th grade class that works on math problem solving and MCAS skills)
• Losing Writers Workshop (10th grade class that works on writing and MCAS skills)
• Losing SAT prep (11th grade class that works on SAT skills and college readiness)
• Losing AP Biology
• Losing AP World History
• We had to change our schedule from a 6-period day (teachers teach 4 of 6) to a 5-period day (teachers teach 4 of 5), with longer classes, less collaborative time for teachers, and fewer options for students.
• Cuts to autism program
I have said before and I will say it again: Students are powerful, more powerful than they know. Politicians will always claim that the union is behind every protest, but it is not true. The students suffer the cuts. The students feel the loss of teachers and programs. They have a voice, and when they use it, no one accuses them of greed and self-interest. Of course, they are interest in their lives and their futures. They should be. When they protest, politicians quake.