Two transformative opportunities for the Boston Public Schools hung in the balance as students began the new school year. First, students desperately needed a longer school day and a system that kept good teachers in the classroom. Unfortunately, this opportunity came and went, as the Boston Public Schools’ leadership and the Boston Teachers Union agreed to a status quo teachers contract. City and union leaders touted the hollow accomplishment as groundbreaking school reform, but parents and teachers were left with a sense of resignation knowing that, when it comes to the Boston Public Schools, help rarely comes from those in power.
With just over 56,000 students, 74 percent of whom live in poverty, our schools face a daunting achievement gap while hemorrhaging middle-class families from their ranks. It would strike many as common sense that combining a longer school day with a steadfast commitment to high-quality teaching would go a long way toward closing the achievement gap and winning back those who opt out through Metco, charter schools, private and parochial schools, and of course, for-sale signs.