What is the Learning Network?
The Learning Network the way to get involved. It’s made up of everyone and anyone who is committed to making the Boston Busing/Desegregation Project work for Boston. Beyond truth telling about the era, BBDP aims for us Bostonians to learn from that truth telling and make change based on what we learn. To make sure that happens we envision a Network that grows in number until it is a critical mass of the city.
We invite you to get involved by becoming a part of the Network. Your participation can vary –from just checking in to see what’s happening, to coming to or sponsoring events to joining a working committee. You chose! Details about the Learning Network follow but you can also just fill out this Learning Network form. and return it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the Learning Network relate to the Project?
The Boston Busing/Desegregation Project (BBDP) grew out of the Union of Minority Neighborhood’s attempts to organize African American parents in the struggle for quality public education. For many of those parents, the legacy of this unexamined history was a significant barrier to their full engagement. As BBDP has listened and learned about this era, we have come to believe that in order to make systemic change, it is crucial for the entire city to explore this history and its implication for equity in Boston and for the future of public school education.
To engage a critical mass of the city in this effort will require a wide base of individuals and organizations. We invite you to be a part of what we believe will be a new model to promote truth telling, shared learning, and change for the betterment of the entire city’s people by joining BBPD’s Learning Network. The Learning Network presents a special opportunity for you to become part of a citywide network of people who are committed to learning about that period and participating in project efforts toward change. Some of the first questions we must address in our learning are: what has it meant for our city and our society to end legal segregation of public schools? What have we transitioned to? And how have we fared in that transition?
What is Boston’s current relationship to this era?
In inviting you to participate in this Network, we want to recognize the current situation regarding this history. There are many conflicting stories and understandings about Boston’s history of school segregation and desegregation. Many people believe they know what happened. For too many people, their stories of pain, hurt and anger have never been acknowledged or fully engaged. Some say those stories are “yesterday’s news”, “we’ve moved on,” and “what’s the point of bringing it up?” Others say “the Busing” and other tactics to try to attain educational opportunity for all children were failed experiments on the backs of the city’s poor. Still others believe that, though the strategy of desegregation and the tactic of busing were flawed, they were our best choice at that time to meet the goal of assuring all neighborhoods had good schools. Many may say the past is no longer relevant to what needs to be done to build better public schools today. But we believe differently.
Why do we believe it is important to do this together now?
We believe that working toward an understanding of this history with Boston’s diverse communities will lead to shared vision of a high quality Boston public school system that can effectively educate all students for the 21st century. Addressing generational effects of individual and social trauma will make it possible for otherwise-excluded, wise voices to participate in shaping this vision. By learning from our past, we can gain the knowledge needed to move forward clearly and make change. By courageously exploring complex race and class dynamics from this defining moment of Boston’s history, we can better understand key challenges we face today and increase our ability to tackle these challenges. Through this project, Boston has a unique opportunity to truly include and support the city’s diverse communities to work together to discover novel approaches to systemic change.
Our invitation to you
In asking you to be a part of the Learning Network, we are asking you — individuals and organizations — to join the base that will support the city through this process. In so doing, you will be: 1) the container that will hold and guide diverse voices of this city through their truth-telling; 2) the learning community that will reflect together throughout this process, developing a truer collective story and finding ways to share it; and 3) the committed community that will stand together to secure resources for action and change.
This effort aims to reaffirm that this city can and must provide an excellent public school education for all its children, families and communities. A more comprehensive understanding of school segregation and desegregation in Boston is not complete without you. We are asking you join this new learning venture.
For all who accept this invitation, a new and affirming opportunity is available. We invite you to this initial step in an ongoing effort by many Boston residents to tell the whole story of Boston’s history, before, during, and after the dramatic events of the mid-1970‘s that still affect us today. There are many ways for you to participate, and varying levels of participation. Please join us by completing the Learning Network form.