The company that writes the ISEE exam that BPS has long used to help figure out who to invite to attend exam schools and BPS administrators are exchanging exclamations of "You can't quit me! I quit you first!" today.
The Globe reports that the Education Records Bureau actually decided last spring to cut off BPS from access to its test because the district had refused repeated requests - over eight years - to stop screwing around with the results in a way that the non-profit group says was harming minority test takers in particular.
The group released e-mail to other participating school districts today from President Thomas Rochon:
Our decision to no longer supply the ISEE for admission purposes in the BPS exam schools was made because the District continues to utilize ISEE scores in ways that do not align with ERB implementation guidelines or best practices in admissions. That misapplication of ISEE scores has been one factor in perpetuating admissions outcomes that disproportionately affect students belonging to underrepresented groups, thus reducing their access to the educational opportunities available in the exam schools.
ERB has requested multiple times that the District use ISEE scores in an appropriate way, for example by stopping their practice of summing the four measures of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, mathematical achievement and reading comprehension into a single score. We also attempted several times over the last eight years to work with District leaders to identify the most equitable and valid way to weight ISEE scores by offering to fund the appropriate research studies, but we were always rebuffed. The most recent refusal from the District to undertake a validity study and reform their admission process came last year, leading us to notify them that ERB will no longer be part of their process. District leaders have chosen not to make that fact public but have instead begun to point to the ISEE as the root cause of their admissions disparities.
The Globe reports, however, that BPS officials say it was BPS that decided to stop using ISEE, because it wasn''t really all that fair and equitable.
Lawyers for Civil Rights, which has butted heads with BPS in recent years over the issue of increasing minority enrollment at Boston Latin School, released a copy of Rochon's e-mail and called the message so damning the group is already committing to "represent parents who want to sue the City for discriminating against their children."