City Councilors Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) and Kim Janey (Roxbury) want to look at ways to increase black and Latino enrollment at the city's three exam schools - including possibly replacing scores from the ISEE exam now used to help determine entrance with results from MCAS tests.
Campbell - who herself went to Boston Latin School - and Janey say the ISEE is fundamentally unfair to minority students because it includes topics not taught in Boston grades before kids take the test for seventh-grade enrollment, including algebra, which means kids whose parents pay for expensive prep classes are better prepared. BPS does offer its own free prep classes, but has had problems enrolling minority students for them.
In their formal request for a hearing on the issue, which the council will consider on Wednesday, the two councilors say that while BPS as a whole is 75% black and Latino, only 40% of the three exam schools are - a rate that drops to 20% at Boston Latin School.
In addition to ISEE, the councilors say they also want to look at grading differences between BPS and local private schools, which might also hurt minority applicants to the exam schools.
The councils regular Wednesday meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.