Boston Public Schools Proposal Would Eliminate Middle Schools

Officials with Boston Public Schools are reportedly considering a proposal to eliminate middle schools.

Superintendent Tommy Chang is pushing for the change, which is part of a larger 10-year planning project for the district's facilities, in order to have students switch schools only once in their education instead of multiple times.

The proposal would have students stay in elementary through the sixth or eighth grade, and then go on to a secondary school in seventh or ninth grade.

"Reducing the number of grade configurations in BPS will create fewer disruptions for students, more predictability for families when selecting schools for their students, and ensuring appropriate enrollment at all schools so they can sustain effective programming," Chang said in a statement.

The proposal comes on the heels of another proposal to change school start and end times, which had been so roundly rejected by parents and community members that the school district dropped it.

Some educators are concerned this could be a repeat of that controversy.

"Before you do something drastic, you better talk to parents, you better talk to the community, you better talk to educators," said retired Boston teacher Bob Marshall.

However, the school district said the grade configuration changes wouldn't take place until "a robust community engagement process" is held.

The district also pointed to there being too few elementary school seats in neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Mattapan, South Dorchester, West Roxbury and Roslindale, but more than 1,200 seats open for grades sixth through eighth.

There's been mixed reaction among parents and staff on the proposal, which was first reported by the Boston Globe.

"When I went to school, it was that way, so I mean it wouldn't hurt. It would be less congestion, more kids getting out at the same time," Donna Lopes, a bus driver, said.

Juanita, a parent, said she doesn't agree with the proposal.

"I think middle schools are very important for young people," she said. "It helps them with forming who they are at that time in their lives, which is very important ... and it prepares them for high school."

"I think they should leave it the same way it is right now, because that's the best way," said Elias Roman, a parent from Dorchester.

Meanwhile, the Boston Teachers Union told the Globe it has no formal position on changing how grades are structured in schools.

"Any such changes warrant an authentic and thoughtful community process that truly values the knowledge, experiences and insights of those most impacted," union president Jessica Tang reportedly staid in a statement.

Contact Us