#SpeakingUp: BPS students are Woke
“BPS students are woke and they’re not going back to sleep” said a junior at TechBoston Academy in response to the #BPSWalkout, a historic protest where thousands of Boston Public School students walk out of school to protest budget cuts.
In a powerful and informative article,“Why Walked Out,” student organizer Jahi Spaloss explains,
“ I started helping to plan the walkout after I learned about the budget cuts and what was going to be cut from our schools. My school, Boston Green Academy, which is an in-district charter school, was going to lose science classes, even though they are a core part of the curriculum and four years of science is a graduation requirement. When they cut things that are going to keep us from graduating, honestly it feels like they’re dooming us to failure. Or cutting extra curricular activities that could provide students with a full scholarship to college in the future. It baffles me why they they’re doing this because these cuts are basically taking opportunities away from the next generation of leaders.”
The estimated $30 million budget cut on education may cause school shutdowns and can potentially extinguish programs in the arts and sciences as Spaloss clearly emphasizes above.
Coupled with the #BlackatBLS and #BlackatBPS movement, Boston Public School students are dealing with racial hostility at school which fosters an uncomfortable and even unsafe environment. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, B.L.S. BLACK., a Black student union at BLS launched a social media campaign to discuss racial issues at their school. Alums, parents, community members and even the nation paid attention to the racial crisis.
We believe youth voices are best heard at the table. This means as students protest budget cuts and racial issues at their respective schools, it is crucial that they attend budget hearings, council meetings, and
Many BPS students have turned themselves into advocates overnight, which is rewarding but time consuming, exhausting, and distracts students from their schoolwork. Now the dilemma is to create a medium where student activism and feedback is embedded into the school’s standards and even curriculum.
These movements that have erupted in Boston Public Schools have set the foundation for a long journey on redesigning Boston Public Schools. What does a culturally and racially competent school look like?