NAACP says backers of BLS headmaster as bad as South African whites during apartheid

Boy, that escalated quickly. The Herald posts an open letter from the head of the local NAACP to parents supporting BLS headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta, in which he accuses them of perpetuating an apartheid system in Boston's premier public school.

UPDATE: Mooney Teta sends memo of "deep regret" to students, parents, alumni. Copy in the comments.

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ahh yes

thats a great way to be taken seriously, i don't think i've even heard people at the school that have an issue with whats going on there use rhetoric remotely as strong

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Fail

This is almost as bad as lazily reaching for Hitler in order to make a rhetorical point.

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Does this step typically come

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Does this step typically come before, or after Godwin?

Thanks, and I'll take my answer off the air.

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Boer Latin?

Junior year of HS at Latin we were sent to an assembly to listen to a member of the ANC, who was kind of sort of affiliated with UMass Boston to come in an lecture us on the evils of the White government of South Africa. Yes, they were evil. I don't know what I could have done at that point other than indicate to my parents that I did not like the ANC.

Of course this person, who was the same one who got Charles Laquidira to promote a boycott of Shell on BCN, got rather unhappy with me that I questioned his advocacy of violence towards innocent whites who were neither government supporters nor anti-ANC.

Latin is also the same place in 1983 where someone not affiliated with the school was allowed to walk around the school unaccompanied telling people that we were not allowed to watch the miniseries Shaka Zulu because it made the ANC look bad.

Would the guy who wrote the letter feel any better if I walked around dressed like Matt Damon in Invictus and hugged everyone?

Get bent Boston NAACP. It's over. The school will handle things, not you and your egocentric agenda.

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probable cause

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It looks like the US Attorney may have reason to think the issues may be more serious than Walsh and Chang's narrow investigation documented.

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I think your headline is unfair and exaggerated.

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Here's the sentence in its entirety:

We’ve described the racial make-up of Boston Latin School as “apartheid-like”, and the response from these parents and alumni mirrors what we saw from many in South Africa who attempted to protect their remaining institutions and leaders, as if acknowledging systemic racism is an investment in their own demise.

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That isn't strong enough for you?

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The entire letter is nothing but a condemnation of parents who dare to support the headmaster. Taken in context, that one sentence is really sort of the cherry on the top of a very angry rant about white parents allegedly covering their eyes to what he claims is pervasive and decades-long racial discrimination at BLS. Somebody who runs a long-standing organization in the public sphere knows the importance of symbols and knows full well what he's saying when he injects South Africa under apartheid into a public discussion.

Full disclosure, for those just tuning in: I am a white parent of a BLS student, although I had nothing to do with the letter and don't even know who wrote it.

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Whoa, what happened?

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How did that constantly bleeding heart of yours go stone-cold Trump in an instant? Does it always do that when you have to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak?

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I'll bite

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But only on the condition that I get three uses of the words "race baiter," "grievance monger," and "ghetto strongman" at some point within the next month without being shouted down as a heartless White Devil.

Not counting those three, that is.

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For an exam school,

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"as if acknowledging systemic racism is an investment in their own demise"

It kind of is. Exam schools are unpopular among the people who don't get in (obviously) and there are a lot of opponents looking to find reasons to get rid of them as a result. Therefore, anyone at an exam school is going to be very leery of any outside criticism, even if it's valid.

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One thing that has bothered me about the whole affair

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It's a shame my mind is going and so I can't remember where I read it, but in one of the reports or memos or something was a statement that there are black kids in BPS who don't even bother trying for BLS because they've heard that the racial environment is not that good. That really struck me and is troubling.

If I ran things, I'd make that a focus of any followup to this whole affair. Are things at BLS really that bad for black kids? If so, yes, something needs to be done. If no, something still needs to be done, to convince those kids that they should apply, precisely because it is hard and will get them ready for college in a way few other programs in Boston can.

With our daughter now winding down her time there (we had what is likely our last ever parent/teacher meetings a couple weeks ago, and one teacher spent a fair amount of time talking about how he tries to counteract senioritis), the idea that there are kids out there missing out on something from which they could get so much, well, as I've already said, it bothers me.

As for people wanting to just tear down the exam schools? Um, who? Even that NAACP letter is about making BLS better, not shutting it down.

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I can tell you

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As a former BPS student, being a white kid was extremely difficult in elementary and middle school.
Literally every black student call me by "hey white boy."

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Exactly, racism needs to be

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Exactly, racism needs to be addressed as a whole in BPS. In most other schools whites are not the majority, and you can expect to hear Asians and whites being the subject of racial comments and not even the teachers bat an eye. They need to finally deal with it as a whole and educate teachers to not brush it off when they hear it.

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I remember that comment

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I believe it was in a Globe article on the initial protest, but it was also purely conjecture. Other reasons were also listed (difficulty, location, etc).

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It's not unique to Boston schools

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The reasons may vary, but it's a well-documented phenomenon in college applications too. A lot of potentially promising black and hispanic students from poor backgrounds don't even bother applying to top-track colleges because of the perception that these places are too expensive or exclusionary.

Kind of a problem of leading a horse to water but failing to win its heart and mind to convince it to drink. But whatareyagonnado? A lie gets half way around the world before the truth gets its pants on.

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Too late.

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As I posted here a few weeks back, I think there are complex issues to look at here, namely why the racial makeup of the exam schools are so unbalanced. And again, it is a complex issue--it's not all a grand conspiracy by Asian and white people to keep others out. But I'm depressed as hell this morning--hearing on NPR that the NAACP and now the Urban League and ACLU are in on the movement AND to see this from the Huffington Post. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/blackatbls-exposes-racial_b_9065954.html Ungrammatical headline aside, this is just crappy journalism. I'm pretty certain that these folks are not all BLS students but the implication is certainly that they are.

Personally I wish that we could have disagreements about topics like Ferguson or Black Lives Matter without shrieks of "racist!" and "hate speech!" at the first provocation--IMHO this is how we end up with Donald Trump and people feeling as if the "truth tellers" are being stifled by the overbearing left. I'd much rather have the conversation/argument in the open.

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Well

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"issues to look at here, namely why the racial makeup of the exam schools are so unbalanced"

What's unbalanced about it, the amount of Asian students at Latin? I think that's pretty easy to understand if one looks at Asian culture. If you're referring to Latin being 40% white, that reflects the racial makeup of Boston pretty well. Of course, it doesn't represent the racial makeup of BPS, but that's a different issue.

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As I said...it's complex.

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But it's also not all about "culture." There are a lot of very difficult issues around opportunity, access, expectations. Putting aside the public/private school issues, consider that in a lot of schools, you won't have the information and general expectation about the exam schools or about the importance of AWC classes which start in 4th grade. I don't know how many BPS kids go to the exam schools from regular ed but I'm sure that AWC is a huge advantage. It's also only available in some schools and when you're juggling whether or not to keep your kid in your local school with their siblings or ship them across town to an AWC school, that's a big factor. And a lot of parents don't get that it's important OR they just can't swing the logistics.

Anyway, this just feels like the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of issues to consider and frankly I wish the NAACP were living up to their mission and looking at those issues around early childhood education and access instead of this divisive, inflammatory crap, IMO. I'm pretty sure that statistically the black graduates of BLS are better off than their peers at any other hs in Boston. Maybe they'd do better to focus on schools where kids are really struggling with issues bigger than being the only black kid in AP History, like schools that don't even offer AP History.

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You've made a good point, Sally.

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A big part of the reason that so little progress regarding race relations, not only here in Boston, but throughout the United States generally, is because there's so little willingness of many people to engage in frank, open discussions on this subject.

You're also right about the fact that this kind of an atmosphere is what's contributed to Donald Trump's popularity and Candidacy, as well.

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BLA vs BLS

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I've known many families of all races who sometimes choose BLA over BLS for other reasons besides race. BLA is viewed by many as a kinder, more supportive environment for their children. It is certainly a much smaller school with about 700 fewer students.

It should also be noted that many Black students who get into BLS are also recruited and admitted by prestigious private schools in the area offering scholarships. This may be one factor in the disproportionality of the racial demographics at BLS.

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NAACP loses credibility each

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NAACP loses credibility each time it uses its own outdated name (abbreviation, actually).

Everyone know what the letters NAACP stand for? Why do they persist? Nostalgia?

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Headmaster expresses "deep regret"

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This just in:

To: The Boston Latin School Community

From: Lynne Mooney Teta
Re: Further reflections
Date: February 24, 2016

While the last few weeks have been difficult for our community, that discomfort cannot compare to the experience of students who have faced prejudice and acts of bias in our school. I am grateful to the student leaders of BLS B.L.A.C.K. (Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge) for raising awareness of racial tensions at Boston Latin School (BLS), as no student should ever feel emotionally or physically unsafe in school, or denigrated for who they are.

While I am optimistic that the dialogues begun over the past few weeks will lead to a more respectful and welcoming racial climate at our school, I deeply regret that we did not begin such conversations earlier, and that there was not more urgency in our initial response to these concerns. I acknowledge my responsibility in that lapse. It is the headmaster’s duty to ensure the conditions are in place to allow every student to succeed in a safe learning environment that acknowledges and values the commonalities and differences among us. After weeks of self-reflection and frank conversations, I realize that in important ways I have not succeeded. I am truly sorry.

As an educator, I am driven by commitments to social justice and equity — values I first developed as a student here at BLS. It pains me to recognize that our students have suffered from racism within our community. I pledge to work toward a better Boston Latin School, one where all parents are certain of their child’s well-being, and where every student is empowered to excel in an environment free from discrimination.

Every day at Boston Latin School, we welcome 2,450 remarkable students to our hallways — students representing the rich diversity of our city in terms of race, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. Despite efforts to meet our mission for all students, we have heard clearly that there is more we must do. I look forward to continuing to learn from our student leaders and partner with them to make BLS a place where everyone is treated with respect and can thrive.

With the support of district leadership and external partners, we are already taking steps toward the goals B.L.A.C.K. helped me set as outlined in my January 25 memo. A social justice advisory committee, comprised of 38 student leaders, has convened and will continue to meet with me regularly to provide an important student voice in school-wide decisions. We have launched a new partnership with the Racial Justice program of YWBoston to hold intensive dialogues on race and ethnicity for student, parent, faculty, and administrative leaders, and support professional learning for all faculty. Every student participated in a mandatory assembly that reminded students how to report inappropriate, hateful or offensive speech or actions, as well as the consequences for engaging in such behavior. Plans for a B.L.A.C.K. Teach-In (a full day of workshops for students) are under development. Students, faculty and parents will work together to design additional required programming for all students focused on issues of race. As we continue to listen and learn together, we will determine the ongoing steps we need to take to strengthen our school climate.

The results of the Office of Equity investigation point to areas needing improvement, which we are taking with the utmost seriousness. We are working actively with Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Tommy Chang and district leadership to implement the Office of Equity’s recommendations, in addition to the school-based steps outlined above. I particularly look forward to a multifaceted, comprehensive racial climate assessment involving as many BLS students, faculty, staff, and parents as possible in the coming weeks.

Boston Latin School has been a leader in secondary education for almost 400 years. This moment causes me, and I hope all of us, to think deeply and take action on many levels. BLS can only benefit as we reflect upon our personal beliefs, professional practices, and institutional policies. I am encouraged by the active involvement of students, faculty, families and community partners who seek to contribute to a more respectful learning environment for all. I invite you to join me in embracing this opportunity to come together to make our school stronger and more inclusive, and create enduring change.

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She is also responsible for todays rain,

the Patriots playoff loss, Slavery, the Kardashians, Fake Country music, Ed Harding, bike lane blockers, Gypsy yard sales, puppy mills, space savers, Trump, Pablo Sandoval's weight, Ted Cruz's smile, Hillary's server, Rubio's sweat, Bernie's hair brush, Carson's narcolepsy, Kasich's lost mail and the T.

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It seems that the NAACP wants

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It seems that the NAACP wants to hold Mooney Teta responsible for not only generations of inequality but also all the inadequacies in the entire Boston Public School system.

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BLS vs. BPS

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the fact that BLS draws from a different pool of kids essentially than most BPS schools in that lots of white middle class families opt out of BPS until the 7th grade. So the perception that BLS needs to have the same makeup as BPS is starting people at the wrong point. 27% of kids in the city don't go to BPS but everyone is eligible to go to BLS if they get in.

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Great point.

No offense but these BLA arguments are elites of the system arguing with elites of the system. Meanwhile the other 50,000 kids....

The people that opt out and return at grade 7 include parents choosing parochial, charter or METCO over their BPS K-7 options. The goal has to be creating neighborhood schools that parents want to send their kids to. Neighborhood schools are a petri dish where relationships are formed. That single mom with three kids in three schools in three different neighborhoods deserves better. Neighborhood schools are where friendships are made where parents meet and get involved and feel like they belong. If we keep on deferring to charters and their selective placement, parochial and METCO nothing will change and more kids will get left behind.

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Minor point

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It's BLS, not BLA. I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to give the old Girls' Latin a name virtually identical to the existing Boston Latin School, but they are different schools at different locations with different headmasters, different teachers, different students and different demographics (for example: BLS is about 20% black and Hispanic; BLA is 46% black and Hispanic).

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Exactly. The solution to that problem

Should be to fix the elementary schools, not to break the exam schools.

When you see a 12 year old Asian boy moving from Shady Hill to BLS, the question shouldn't be how we can keep him out, but what was so wrong with BPS K-6 that his parents would spend 200K and thousands of hours of driving to avoid it.

Is BPS for all the kids of Boston, or isn't it, Chang?

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That's unaffordable

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We can't afford to educate the 57K kids who opt in and the parents who pull their 20K kids out of BPS are saving our collective budget..

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I'm really curious about these numbers

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of how many kids come to BLS from private/parochial schools. I just have no idea. We certainly knew quite a few, many of whom had had a LOT of test prep. That's what got my kid's goat--the amount of pricey test prep that some kids got for the ISEE and SATs compared with the majority. And yes--I'd venture that there's a deficit in terms of making kids and parents of all races/backgrounds/incomes aware of the whole exam school thing or helping them prepare for it--or expect it. There are more good options now in the BPS but navigating that system is extremely challenging.

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What's the solution?

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Ban test prep? That's like saying the SAT's/GRE's/civil service exams/Bar are unfair because some people can afford test prep and some can't. Of course that gives those with the time/money to take these prep classes an advantage, but how do you prevent that?

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I don't know.

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You can't make the playing field entirely level. But maybe figuring out a way to offer more access to test prep OR to weight placement in favor of kids coming from the BPS. I just don't know. I've been reading The Urban Villagers, written in the late 1950s about the West End, pre-demolition, and he mentions the neighborhood social split that happens in middle school when all the Jewish kids went off to BLS and the Italian kids didn't. There IS a cultural element but we all know people who have succeeded precisely by going against whatever their "culture" and the expectations of the people around them. So how do we encourage that more AND give them the tools to do it?

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BPS test prep

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There is some free test prep offered by BPS. First, every student in AWC is getting a certain amount of test prep as part of the AWC curriculum. Second, BPS offers free test prep for two weeks (one week? I forget) in the summer and then Saturdays leading up to the test. After seeing how other kids in paid test prep were suffering from homework overload, we decided to skip that headache entirely and just do the summer/Saturday thing. Our daughter had a great time meeting other kids and learning lots of math that was new to her.

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What is wrong with parents

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What is wrong with parents sacrificing to pay for test prep for their children for the ISEE or the SAT? Some parents would rather waste money on video games, expensive cell phones, trips to Disney, North Face jackets and Ugg boots for their kids, while others feel that education is the most valuable gift they can give their children. Why should these people be looked down upon and ridiculed? I would say that the parents who shower their kids with a bunch of overpriced named brand toys, and don't invest a dime in their child/ren's education are the ones who should be frowned upon. As a teacher I see this every day. Kids with all kinds of expensive crap, but no solid skills - no books at home and no parental direction to value education. These are the kids who will be living in their parents' basements in 10-15 years with no education, no skills, no job prospects, and they will be curled up with their iPhone wrapped in their designer sweatshirt, staring at the computer - pathetic! The dumbing down of America is in full swing. Education is not valued enough in today's society and we will all ultimately pay the price for this transgression! Stop buying your kids crap and invest in their education!

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Did you even take a breath while typing that?

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And do you actually know any poor people? There are thousands of parents out there who are doing the best they can, who aren't buying baubles, and who cannot afford several hundred dollars for an ISEE course, not if the option is making the rent and putting good on the table.

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Yes, I actually used to be a

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Yes, I actually used to be a poor person, until education lifted me out of poverty. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family with no father around. I was surrounded by poverty, depression, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, sexual abuse - evry kind of abuse imaginable. I rose above my circumstances, and others can too. Poverty is no excuse for ignorance. I work with many students from communities living in "so called poverty" and many of the students who get free and reduced lunches come to school in North Face jackets and Ugg boots, and have all kinds of fancy electronics. What they do not have is any skills, any books at home, and anyone at home who values education and puts it above material things. I know of many parents who do not pay the rent (they get Section 8 vouchers) or put food on the table (they get food stamps), but they have an iPhone, and so do all their kids! Don't preach to me when you have no idea what you are talking about.

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I thought the poster is a

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I thought the poster is a teacher who sees this every day? Not someone generalizing based on his/her own experience as a poor person.

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They claim to be a teacher

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Google the contents of the rant and you will find that it is plagiarized.

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Why on earth inject your rant

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in this particular conversation? Did you go to BLS? Feel strongly about the merits of exam schools? Your schpiel about slackers in Northface just has zero place here.

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Not buying this

As a teacher I see this every day.

Given your fact-free and talking-point filled ranting here, I seriously doubt that your teaching experience in the modern era extends beyond truthyisms about "today's kids" that you read in your latest Reader's Digest.

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You must be a swell teacher.

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I can just see you angrily ranting and lecturing in front of a classroom of bewildered kids. You're not describing any of the kids mine went to school with, not the tiniest bit. And no one has "ridiculed" or "looked down" on those parents, only observed that it gives them and their children an advantage that many cannot afford.

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