by: Nexstar Media Wire
September 23, 2021
BOSTON (NEXSTAR) — A group of high school students in Massachusetts had to ride on a party bus complete with a stripper pole and neon lights during a recent field trip — an experience their teacher said highlights problems with the education system.
Jim Mayers, an 11th-grade Advanced Placement language and composition teacher at the Brooke Charter School in Boston, said in the since-deleted tweet that the original charter bus had fallen through.
Mayers included a photo of the students on board, adding, “they didn’t really care about the bus, and a lot of great planning by a lot of great people made for a fantastic day.”
“It is a funny story, but there actually is a real bus shortage and it speaks to major flaws in our education system,” he said, encouraging people to reach out to local officials to demand a financial solution to the shortage.
He is now using the attention he’s getting because of the original tweet to urge people to better understand educational inequities and other problems facing the nation’s schools.
“I’m worried that there is too much attention being paid to the tweet itself, or simply the fact that it went viral, instead of attending to the many systemic issues that are facing not just my students, but students all across the country,” he wrote in a followup tweet.
For example, districts across the nation are struggling to hire enough drivers to shuttle kids to school, and some states have become creative, including Massachusetts, which is enlisting National Guard members to drive school transport vans.
His original tweet, he wrote, was just meant give his fellow teachers a laugh.
“If it’s gotten people to talk about the overall infrastructure of our education system, and the different ways schools are prioritized, then that’s good too,” he wrote.
He then urged readers to attend their next local school board meeting or read up on the topic.
As students returned to the classroom at the end of this summer, many for the first time in a year, school districts across the country found they were far short of the necessary number of drivers.
“It is one of our serious situations we’re facing right now — right behind COVID,” Skye Duckett with Atlanta Public Schools, told NewsNation Now in August, when they were down about 30 drivers.
Montgomery County Public Schools need to fill more than 100 vacancies in Maryland, or thousands of students won’t have a ride.
Meanwhile, in Delaware, one charter school wants to pay parents to pick up and drop off their kids instead of using the bus. The going rate was $700 per child.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.