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On steps of Boston Latin, parents rally to keep the exam in exam schools; across street, other parents rally against it

Sign: Keep the exam

About 70 people rallied this morning on the steps of Boston Latin School in support of keeping an exam to help determine who gets into Boston's three exam schools next year, while across Avenue Louis Pasteur, about 20 people held a counter-protest saying it's time to ditch the test as a legacy of Boston's racist past.

Sign: Louise Day Hicks supports exams

The pro-exam protesters were almost entirely white and Asian-American; the anti-exam protesters were almost entirely white. Mostly missing on either side: Blacks and Hispanics, who make up the majority of BPS students.

The School Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a proposal by School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius and an exam-school working group to ditch exams for Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the O'Bryant School of Mathematics for next year.

Instead, 20% of the roughly 900 exam-school seats for seventh grade would be offered to students with the highest grades citywide while the remaining seats would be offered in several rounds based on Zip codes - the students with the highest class rank in each Zip code would be offered seats, but with preference given to students from lower-income Zip codes.

Sign: No lottery schools

Protesters chanted this would ruin the exam schools because too many "feeder schools" suck and that that's not fair to the kids in Zip codes that traditionally supply a disproportionate share of exam-school students. "Fix the feeder schools!" they chanted at one point.

They also alleged the proposal is itself racist because it would limit the number of students from Chinatown.

Sign: Don't use Zip codes to choose students

"Don't bring back the quota!" they chanted at one point, referring to the busing-era system BPS used to assign some seats at the exam schools, until a white parent from Hyde Park sued and won in 1996. They also demanded the School Committee schedule a public hearing on the issue before taking any vote. Some questioned why the whole thing isn't being put to a public vote.

Instead, they want BPS to test students who want to go to one of the exam schools with a test called MAP. BPS chose MAP in July to replace the ISEE, which it abruptly decided to stop using in February.

Sign: Sumus Primi

On the other side of the street, protesters pointed to the fact that Boston Latin School in particular has demographics nowhere near those of the rest of the BPS system and that several years of attempts to change that have not worked:

Sign: West Roxbury, your racism is showing
Sign: Fairness demands the new system
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Comments

BPS is set on starting with the new exam next year, one that's more fair to public school students than the private school oriented ISEE was.

I don't know if the district could pull off a safe exam this fall. But they shouldn't be forced to try, given how much else they are dealing with.

I actually think this is a good opportunity to see what a different kind of system would look like, and it's certainly no less fair than the current one. Worth remembering that in this plan one of the qualifying factors for BPS kids is scoring proficient on the MCAS. So it's not like there's no selectivity at all.

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One of the selling points of the MAP exam (BPS' new vendor) was a flexible format - apparently, it had been extensively administered on computers. Internet and computer access shouldn't be an issue since BPS has provided Chromebooks to anyone who wants one, while Comcast's Internet Essentials ($10/month) is offering 3 months free for low-income families. Yes, proctoring may be an issue, but webcam recordings may work (there wouldn't be an active monitor, but the recordings can be viewed after the fact if there's something suspicious). Content-wise, the MAP exam should be able to accommodate the testing of 4th grade standards instead of 5th grade standards, i.e. to capture pre-pandemic learning.

It's not that hard - BPS can have the vendor figure it out...

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It saddens me that our city only has a limited number of seats at quality high schools. We should be asking ourselves- why has the administration failed so bad at improving the quality of our schools? Instead they come up with a plan that divides the city. There needs to be better solutions instead of tearing apart the few high performing schools that exist in BPS. The tone of BPS leadership and the school Committee has to more inclusive of all BPS students and not make assumptions based on race. The district has already made its students take remote standardized tests this year. There are ways it could be done or at least do a city-wide lottery for all kids who meet the baseline gpa criteria. We are stronger as a united city. The zip proposal just divides us. It has us fighting over crumbs in a broken. Let’s figure out how a non-exam schools like Boston Collegate are providing high quality education and try to replicate it. Let’s expand the capacity at the exam schools. We need more high quality high schools but we always just focus on the few seats at the exam schools.

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It saddens me that our city only has a limited number of seats at quality high schools. We should be asking ourselves- why has the administration failed so bad at improving the quality of our schools? Instead they come up with a plan that divides the city. There needs to be better solutions instead of tearing apart the few high performing schools that exist in BPS. The tone of BPS leadership and the school Committee has to more inclusive of all BPS students and not make assumptions based on race. The district has already made its students take remote standardized tests this year. There are ways it could be done or at least do a city-wide lottery for all kids who meet the baseline gpa criteria. We are stronger as a united city. The zip code proposal just divides us. It has us fighting over crumbs in a broken school system. Let’s figure out how a non-exam school like Boston Collegate is providing high quality education and try to replicate it. Let’s expand the capacity at the exam schools. We need more high quality high schools but we always just focusing on BLS.

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How do you know that BPS will have an exam ever again? In case you haven't noticed, all of the language coming out of the School Committee leave the door wide open for permanently removing the exam.

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.... someone pointed out that there wasn't an exam before the 60s and of course the school used to be only boys, so this freak-out about changes the rules of admission like it's one of the 10 Commandments are only relevant IF the standards of the school slip due to this, which is not clear at all.

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How fair were BLS admissions? And isn't the number of applicants (in relation to the number of available seats) much higher today?

BPS has paid a vendor for an "equity, guaranteed" exam -- all they have to do is use it. Chicago's using the same exam this year to admit students to their version of exam schools. If Chicago, with its daily tragedies disproportionately impacting low-income Black neighborhoods, is using it, why not BPS?

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Yes, and those days, there was also a Girls' Latin School. I am an alumna, and was fortunate enough to have some truly brilliant minds of the city - Black, Asian, Latina, Irish, Jewish, Italian.

It was one of the great accomplishments of my life to have graduated from there.

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How did they decide to admit you?

I mean, you were in 6th grade, so the minutia of how it happened was probably lost on you, but roughly, what do you remember?

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I don't know if the district could pull off a safe exam this fall.

Space students' desks farther apart while they take the test. It isn't rocket science.

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larger venues in the city BCEC, Hynes Convention Center, TD Garden) to administer the new MAP exam (which the Superintendent told us would address the diversity issue) to all students with safe social distancing.

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How about utilizing the Hynes and BCEC for exams? both convention centers are empty.

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staffing.

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But there is a point on the pro-test side. BPS' own estimates (presentation at School Committee meeting, page 18) show a 25% decrease in the number of Asian students being offered seats at the exam schools.

Are Asian-Americans really so privileged in the City of Boston to the point that they can suffer from the largest percentage decrease of any demographic group? Go to Chinatown, or if you don't want to take the T, drive to the Vietnamese community in Dorchester - both will strongly reject the notion of privilege.

(Yes, Asian-Americans nationally have the highest average income of any demographic group. But those Asians are the skilled/professional class living in suburbs like Newton, Wellesley, Lexington, etc., not the ones working 12-hour restaurant shifts and living in housing that's only affordable because it's run-down...)

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Good points, but how could you have missed the challenges faced by the vast majority of the BPS’s student: Blacks and Latinos? Surely a concerned and honest soul such as yourself wouldn’t have intentionally missed Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and East Boston. We see through your racism. We also pay taxes and vote in this city and we demand equity for our children.

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But I know some of those people at the protest against removing the exam because they’re my neighbors. It seems like West Roxbury was well represented there on the side of keeping the exams. There were flyers around my neighborhood the day before. The biggest losers of this proposal will be the West Roxbury crowd with kids in private school just waiting until the day they place into Latin and living in houses that cost a $1,000,000.

I’m actually torn on the right approach. Obviously I think we need to keep high standards in that school because otherwise, what’s the point? I would much prefer to do something like free test prep city wide so that rich kids don’t get all the advantages while keeping the same high standards.

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West Roxbury has never lost anything when it comes to privilege.

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I grew up poor in West Roxbury. I own the house I grew up in because my parents died young: not because of economic privilege. And yes I do know that is privilege, too. What I didn't know- that I lived in such a hive-mind of racists- the neighborhood is more complex than that- if like everywhere, imperfect. Maybe, in working for racial justice for 35 years, me and my Irish/Haitian family just know a wider swath of people then you do who live in the neighborhood. Many of us from West Roxbury - yes, even those raised here who sent their kids to BLS- are not who you constantly frame us to be as there are more of us who share your values than you think, fellow commentators. Surprisingly perhaps, I don't call 911 on my Amazon delivery guys- funny thing a gentrifier new to our street did that two years ago.

And Adam, thank you for what you do to create this forum. You are the primary voice for survivors of Homicide Victims and I appreciate that very much.

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Exam School Initiative which is free.

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Can we just add more exam schools with each using a different exam so that if a parent thinks one exam is biased they can elect to take the alternative? The city should have never sold off Boston English across the street from Boston Latin. Would have made all the sense in the world to have two exam schools across the street from one another so that they didn't need separate buses.

Boston has had 50 years to fix public schools and only has managed to break them even more despite more money, administrators, and teachers per pupil every year as enrollment has shrank. The administrators got a palatial headquarters while kids are still bussed around for hours to failing falling down non-neighborhood schools. Some of which are still full of lead paint, lead pipes, asbestos, mice, roaches, and have faulty heat. Kids deserve better than being shuffled around to superfund sites and taxpayers deserve to know where the Hell their money is going since it obviously isn't fixing jack shit.

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Our school system is an embarrassment.
We have a few good schools and the rest are crap.

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Why math is racist? Why entrance exams are racist?

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Everything is racist. Asking why it is racist is racist.

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Many feel a sense of power and elitism by putting others down. By calling non racist things racist it allows the accuser to feel a sense of authority. It also creates a slight sexual satisfaction by calling anything and everyone racist.

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The only thing that standardized tests are good at testing for is how rich your parents are.

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The only thing that standardized tests are good at testing for is how rich your parents are.

Even if this were true how is it racist?

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First, it is true, which is why universities keep dropping SATs.

Second, do I really have to explain, in this the year of our lord 2020, how the wealth disparity which exists in the US population is the product of centuries of institutionalized racism? This is such a basic fact about our society that I can't imagine anyone who questions it is doing so in good faith.

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So poor people are dumb and not capable scoring well on tests? Take your tin foil hat off you classist freak.

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I'm sure that follows logically from something, but I'll be damned if I know what it is. I already said standardized tests don't actually measure anything but wealth. That includes smarts.

Poor people, statistically, do not do as well on tests as those whose parents can pay for prep courses and tutors. This is a shock?

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which has been around since 2000, has been offering free test prep to students who may not otherwise be able to afford any other test prep course.

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Until 2016, it was mainly a project of the Boston Latin School Association, overseen by somebody who didn't feel like alerting parents and students in heavily minority neighborhoods to its existence. So we, with a daughter in one of Boston's few white-majority elementary schools, which was one of BLS's traditional feeder schools in one of the school's traditional feeder neighborhoods (the Kilmer in West Roxbury) got alerted to it and drove her up to BLS for the class, while most parents in Roxbury were never even told about it.

What changed in 2016? Remember Black Lives at BLS? The national attention the school got? The investigation by the US Attorney's office? The resignation of both the headmaster and the assistant headmaster? That's what it took for BPS to begin widespread promotion of the prep class outside of places like West Roxbury and Roslindale.

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as to why you chose the "white-majority" Kilmer as opposed to other elementary schools that are closer to where you live?

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We really wanted to send her to a "local" school, i.e., one within walking distance, but the Conley just seemed like it was too small and cluttered. My wife didn't get a good vibe from the principal at the Mozart, he seemed too rigidly attached to structure and rote learning. To be honest, I can't remember what it was about the Bates my wife didn't like when she went on a visit there.

I don't know what it's like now, but back in the three-zone days, trying to pick a school for the lottery, and then waiting for the results, was probably one of the more agonizing things for a parent (followed only by the similar AWC experience a few years later), and we went on a lot of school visits (well, mostly my wife, since I was working in Framingham and Southborough at the time, which made getting to school visits difficult).

We were in the West Zone, where there was a group of parents with preschool kids that met weekly so we could compare notes on school visits and discuss possible strategies for winning the lottery (like "taking over" one school, where all the group members would try to get their kids into the same school).

And, yes, I am very aware of the white privilege in all this. Almost all of the members of the group were white, and the fact that my wife was at home meant she could probably go to more school visits than many parents.

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Poor people, statistically, do not do as well on tests as those whose parents can pay for prep courses and tutors.

Are you saying only minorities are poor?
Now that is kind of racist if you say yes.
Plenty of working class kids of all races take the exam and do just fine, sure getting extra help is a bonus but it has nothing to do with race.

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Minorities are disproportionately poorer than whites, wealth is a sliding, relative scale and not a binary, and occasional good outcomes do not militate against statistical trends.

Poor people tend to do worse than rich people on standardized tests. Because of systematic racism, black people are disproportionately poorer than whites. Thus, standardized tests reinforce racial disparity, which generally is what we mean when we call something "racist." This isn't rocket science.

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If systemic racism reinforce racial disparity in entrance exam grades why would a wealthy white kid need any extra help?
My kids are biracial and both took the exam for BLS and didnt score high enough to get in. Is it because of racism or maybe some kids are not as smart as other kids? They tried, and studied but just didnt have what it takes...I won't allow them to blame racism because they didnt score high enough.
Kids who go to private school for the first 5 or 6 years of school do better than most Boston public students, regardless of what skin color they have.
The education most kids recieve in Boston public schools is the problem, not racism, in my opinion.

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If systemic racism reinforce racial disparity in entrance exam grades why would a wealthy white kid need any extra help?

Systematic racism is why white kids get extra help - because their parents tend to have the money to get them extra help. Or, better put, systematic racism is why black parents tend not to have the money to get their kids extra help.

My kids are biracial and both took the exam for BLS and didnt score high enough to get in.

Once again, looking at individual outcomes has nothing to do with statistical trends, or vice versa.

Kids who go to private school for the first 5 or 6 years of school do better than most Boston public students, regardless of what skin color they have.

Yeah, but kids who go to private school for the first 5 or 6 years tend to have one skin color more than the other, which is the point.

The education most kids recieve in Boston public schools is the problem, not racism, in my opinion.

If you are the product of BPS, I can certainly see how there's room for improvement.

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If you are the product of BPS, I can certainly see how there's room for improvement.

Stay Classy.

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So you're saying that every kid that gets into BLS has rich parents? Interesting.

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I'm not, that's pretty stupid.

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hire tutors to prep their kids for the test. Tutoring starts in fifth grade, in some cases, and can cost thousands of dollars. Less, of course, than tuition at a private school, but so much more than a lot of families can afford.

There is also a whole system that some parents know about, and some parents. If you’re child goes to some specific schools, the teachers know the game. They offer test prep in class. They inflate grades. They know what parents expect. My child went to an elementary school like that, although we live in a low income community, and I was just flabbergasted at the effort, when our neighbors didn’t even know what Boston Latin School is.

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Don’t penalize the current 6th graders for inequities of the past. Make a fair system for all. 20/80 plan is outrageously unfair.

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don't penalize the 6th graders who look like you for the inequities of the past. Some of them are already penalized by the simple fact of their existence. How are you making that right?

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The Asian-American 6th graders who have been racially abused during the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic?

How is BPS making anything right for them?

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No, I don't, because that's not the same thing and you know it.

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I am a parent of a BPS 6th grader. This argument that the current 6th graders are "penalized" by the changes does not sit well with me.

The proposed changes are not unfair to (all) current 6th graders. They are only unfair to the well-resourced families who were already laying the groundwork to all but guarantee them a spot in the exam schools. For the majority of 6th graders who don't have access to those resources, it's leveling the playing field and giving them a fairer shot.

Think about the number of underserved students who were unfairly excluded from the exam schools FOR DECADES.  If we don't change the system, it will continue to be unfair for the underserved kids. What's not fair is to maintain the status quo to be "fair" to the privileged few while continuing to be unfair to a greater number of underserved population.

In the ideal world we would love to find a process that is "fair for all," but that is never going to happen when there is a group of people who will do whatever they can to game the system to get ahead of others. Until we have an ideal world where everyone is willing to play fair, I think the proposed changes are a good compromise to achieve fairness for the majority.

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The "Hey West Rox your racism is showing" sign is pretty tone deaf and clueless and says more about the sign holder than the issue at hand. That should be fairly obvious when you see a seemingly majority Asian crowd protesting this. Or a guy with a sign from zip code 02215, which is the Fenway area. The old Irish-Catholic conservative West Roxbury does not really exist anymore in any large numbers. Anyone who lives there knows that. I think the new plan is fair and well thought out, but people need to put aside their own personal grievances and think more broadly about who is affected here and why. This isn't about one neighborhood or group versus the rest of the city, far from it.

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Many of those Asian-Americans were, in fact, from West Roxbury, where there is a growing Asian-American community. And one guess which supermarket in which neighborhood the anti-Zip people were standing in front of on Saturday, handing out ads for the rally (which made three points, one of them being that if the plan goes through, West Roxbury property values will plummet).

The flier.

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Just because Asian-Americans have been overwhelmingly successful, does it mean that American society should punish them by making it harder for their next generation to succeed?

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Asian-Americans were from? Did you ask everyone who was there where they lived or did they have signs saying where they lived?

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Many of those Asian-Americans were, in fact, from West Roxbury, where there is a growing Asian-American community.

Yes, Adam. That's the point. Calling an entire neighborhood racist is a weird take when many of the people from the neighborhood fighting the change aren't white. I support the new plan but also support moving beyond old tropes that aren't applicable anymore.

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Asian anti-blackness is kind of a very well documented thing.

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I'm not sure I buy this "racist history" bit. When I went to Boston Latin from a neighborhood school in the pre-busing early 70s it was the most integrated place I had been up to that point and I was all the better for it. Nor was there a single issue of a racial nature in all the time I was there. The school itself and it's policies were pretty horrendous (in my opinion), but race or integration was not among it's problems at the time. People just got on with things. It was still all boys mind you, so you might want to make something of that. But I was still there in 1972 when girls were first admitted and the biggest problem I remember was what to do about bathrooms. This was remedied by taping up handwritten signs that said "boys" on some bathrooms and "girls" on others. Problem solved. If the girls didn't mind urinals in their bathrooms.

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Probably the better time to examine is the era before 1996, when BPS had a quota system in place, and after 1996, when it got rid of it (on orders from a federal judge).

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In 1970, it was easier for African American boys to attend Latin than it was for them to attend South Boston or Charlestown High Schools, so long as they could pass the exam.

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When I was that BLS in 1970 there were also more Asians and Latinos than I had ever seen in neighborhood schools that were not already that demographic. Granted, the Latino population then was not as large as it is today, but if you wanted in to Boston Latin and you passed the test you were in, irrespective of race, color or creed. I remember thinking, in my 12 year old way, that this seemed like equality. And you won't find anyone more anti-elitist than me, but I'm not sure there is anything elitist about having to pass a test to get into a school that requires a test.

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I had no idea that girls were banned from attending BLS within my lifetime... that's misogynistic and disgusting.Wow.

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Just for the record, that ended decades ago.

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Wait until she reads about Loving v. Virginia

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It's common knowledge that Boston Latin School was an all boys school for the first few hundred years of it's existence. There used to be a lot of those, there are probably still some. It wasn't really considered misogynistic back then (for better or worse), a paradigm shift had yet to take place. View it as a victory for women that the shift did happen. I was there in 1972 when girls were first admitted and nobody made a big thing out of it or resisted in any way. It was just viewed as business as usual. Also, the comparable (or reasonably comparable) Girl's Latin School was in Codman Square for years and became Boston Latin Academy in 1977.

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We had our own school. It was much smaller and way poorer resource wise, but it was actually better scholastically than BLS because it was well behaved hard working girls. Then they made it coed and changed the name to Boston Latin Academy (because the horror of making a boy go to a school with girls in the name.) Now of course more girls than boys attend both schools so at least one wrong has been partially righted.

BTW, best way to solve privilege problem is to grant applicants a number of extra points added to exam scores for each full year that they attended BPS before applying to an exam school. Take that, St. Theresa's....and get parents back to advocating to improve BPS elementary schools.

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and boys were banned from attending Girl’s Latin.

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Memories don’t always align with facts.
It may have seemed diverse to you, Anon, and that race and integration were not an issue at BLS in the late 60s, early 70s, but that is not what the data shows.
According to the Boston City Archives, Boston Latin School was even more segregated when you attended than it is today.
In 1966 and 1971, 93% of students attending BLS were white. She shows the BLS demographics and the BPS demographics for each of those years.
You can look at the data reported from BCA on this BLS Senior Capstone student’s website:
African-American Students and Their Experiences at Boston Latin School
http://africanamericanbls.weebly.com/school-demographics.html

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He said it was the most integrated place he had ever been. I don't find that hard to believe, nor difficult to reconcile with the fact that it was 93% white.

I remember thinking, in my 12 year old way, that this seemed like equality.

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When I walked into BLS in 1972 and sat in my homeroom it was the first time I was in class with a person of color. actually, my homeroom seatmate was half-black half Puerto Rican named Miguel. Yes, there were people of color and Asians at BLS but it was overwhelmingly white. Much has changed and much is the same 40+ years later. The problem is and always has been the BPS school system and not Latin School. I hope that they can figure out some way to keep BLS and the exam schools and also upgrade the rest of the school system

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Seriously?
“ Nor was there a single issue of a racial nature in all the time I was there. The school itself and it's policies were pretty horrendous (in my opinion), but race or integration was not among it's problems at the time. People just got on with things.”

Huh...so out of 2500 students that would be about 175 BIPOC. C’mon. You see how ridiculous it is for a white person to say there were no issues of race and integration when there were barely any students of color.

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Without exams, they are just "schools" and we can't have that.

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Why not?

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demographics of BPS against the racial demographics of BLS? What should be compare is the racial demographics of all the students in Boston (whether in BPS or not) to those of the exam schools. Why are those people discounting BLA and O'Bryant which are also good exam schools?
For entrance into 7th grade, BPS should be looking at the number of 6th graders throughout the City, not the entire number of students throughout the City. Does BPS even have an accurate count of the number of non BPS students in Boston?
There is no easy answer to getting more black and Hispanic students into BLS (since BLS seems to be all that anyone is focusing on). But there is an answer that has been ignored for decades: Improve how those students are taught beginning in kindergarten!! If that means longer schools days, longer school year, more individualized attention, tutoring, family supports, why hasn't BPS and the City done this already??? If they truly cared about those students, they would have done this. Penalizing some 6th graders for years of BPS and City failings is unfair.

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Data is important and it can reveal what we may have missed without closely examining it.
I think your question tries to simplify the complex issues of Boston’s systemic racism in education, policing, and housing. As a city, Boston’s poverty rate is tied inextricably to race. Research shows the effects of poverty are pervasive in a child’s life. That being said, it should not be permitted to dictate the opportunities and potential of a child. As an educator in BPS and who specifically works with children with special needs- some of whom have gone on to attend exam schools- BPS has made the schools days at many schools longer, as well as the year (ESY), and many teachers (including myself) work to get students involved in tutoring/programs and do food drops. Don’t confuse a city’s decision to not repair or build safe/clean schools, not to ensure led free drinking water, or (until last year) not have a nurse in every school, or the Mayor’s decision to cut school budgets instead of hiring more counselors, or reading specialists; Don’t confuse that with a teacher caring about our students.

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I take your larger point, but since Stevil doesn't seem to post here anymore, I'll point out that the BPS budget hasn't gone down for decades, just enrollment. I understand that per person costs of education have skyrocketed over that time and it's complicated and that schools DO feel huge budget pressures, but it's just wrong to say the budget has been cut. Per BPS info, it's gone up by $200M since Walsh was elected. $200M!

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Until you experience it you'll never understand. The exam schools have a very small acceptance rate for black children especially BLS. You guys live in alternate world where nothing is a problem because it doesn't effect you and that is the problem. Stop hiding and lying and face the truth. Black folks have been forced to accept it, the rest of the world does too.

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BLS has 54% minority students. BLA 71% minority and OB 90% minority. Most black and brown students chose BLA or OB as their first choice.

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Not everybody accepted to BLA or the O'Bryant is offered a seat at BLS. Your argument fails without proof.

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If you insist on admitting less-qualified students, you have two choices:
#1. Let them be miserable trying to keep up, and flunk out.
#2 Water down Latin School, and no one will notice, or will they.
Plumbers and Electricians have have to pass standardized exams. Who wants a faker doing that kind of work. What is the logical conclusion of no exam school, dumb down college, then graduate school, then professional licensure? Even West Point has a prep school to help enlisted service members who need remedial education. If they don't make the grade, they still don't get in. That is an example of providing opportunity while maintaining standards of excellence. https://www.westpoint.edu/usmaps/academics

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BLS has 54%minority enrollment, BLA 71% minority enrollment and OB 90% enrollment.

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From the Working Group’s recommendation:
▫ Student preference, as defined by ranking of exam schools, show that over 70% of students living in the three zip codes with the highest median household income prefer BLS, while students in the three zip codes with the lowest median household income show preferences for all three exam schools.

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Is even lower for the Latinx community in East Boston. What's your point? The more victimization, the better?

Also, do you think it's fair to punish Asian-Americans just because they've been admitted in higher numbers? Many come from the same economic background as Black students: poor, living in dilapidated housing, parents' unstable job conditions worsened by COVID-19. Just read this USA Today article from yesterday...

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Voting closed 30

Stop giving the millions of dollars each year to the school because it’s not going to be the school you all long supported.

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Voting closed 16

In my opinion the only way to truly even things out is to force all students taking the test to have attended a Boston public school for at least 2 years prior.

You cannot expect students who attended most of our Boston public schools to do as well on these tests as students who went to nice private schools and had their parents pay for tutors.

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Voting closed 14

What percentage of kids go to BLS who aren't in a public school prior? Not a majority of them. All those kids whose parents have been paying for private school on top of their taxes which support BPS are doing us all a HUGE favor because we can't afford to educate the 50K kids in BPS now without trying to get add any of the 20K Boston kids who opt out. Those 20K kids are critical to BPS not consuming the entire city budget.

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Voting closed 11

The exam schools are for all kids who live in Boston. You can't restrict them in that fashion.

There are changes that would tend to have that effect, and I'm sure that all the changes we can think of are being considered. For example, ditching the ISEE test: most of the private school kids were taking that anyway, and there was no reason they had to go to a BPS to take it. Changing the entrance exam to a BPS-proprietary test, and making the administration only available at a Boston public school, would tend to reduce the number of private school kids and increase the number of public school kids, especially if you tied registration for the test itself to proof of residency (which the public school kids have already done).

That's not a matter of restriction so much as friction. The friction for public school kids could be reduced further if all public school kids were scheduled to take the test, and if fees only applied to kids who weren't public school kids.

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Voting closed 14

Majority of your ideas were put in place last year:
- All BPS kids took the ISEE during school in their classrooms - it was free for all BPS kids and I believe it has always been free as long as taken at a BPS administered site
- Other kids (private, etc) could register to take ISEE at a test center (and pay) or take on a Saturday at an approved BPS administered site.

The ISEE was ditched and as of July 2020 was to be replaced with MAPs testing.

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Voting closed 12

Sounds super illegal.

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Campbell and Wu on this?

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As she is a BLS grad, her take should be interesting.

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I'm surprised that it took this long to happen.

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Voting closed 20

The fundamental error here is the belief that the quality of the Latin School is independent of the students who attend it and the families who send them. Test or no test, the reputation of BLS rests not on the qualities of the teaching or administrative staff but on the young people sitting in the seats, behaving themselves, working hard, obeying their parents, competing with each other, striving to make something of themselves. The test and grades are a reasonable, but not infallible, straining device for just such students. The admission process can — and should — be improved, for example, by student essays or other demonstrations of readiness and seriousness. A book, The Exam School Dilemma, offers some very useful comparisons (BLS refused to participate in the authors’ research).

Another error: if selective results do not map exactly with racial-group percentages, ergo racism. Q. E. D. No. It is the home culture, not skin color or geographic ancestry, not zip code, that matters most here, and that culture is not indexed by wealth.

True, the Latin School did not always have an entrance exam. But then it had a rigorous, often cruel, process of elimination: one out of three were said to make it from Sixie year to graduation. Summer Redstone declares in the opening of his autobiography that this very feature of BLS made him the hyper-successful man he became. Many others have claimed the same.

So, how far do we go with this cult of “inclusion?” Should we all be included in everything, no one excluded from anything, regardless of qualification? For this is nothing more than evading the moral requirement of recognizing that not all are equal in terms of achievement and striving, though all are equal under the law and the gaze of Heaven.

If the School Committee makes this decision, it will be yet another brutally Rawlsian cop-out: what all can not have, none may have.

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Voting closed 14

For the people who are upset that too many Asian students are attending BLS, do you mean children whose ethnicity is Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese? What if these chldren's parents or grandparents are from Laos or India or Thailand or all of the above? Is that okay with you? Exactly which Asian ethnicities in what percentage do YOU deem acceptable at BLS? So if a child whose ethicity is Korean tests into BLS and earns a seat, would you tell them: no not you, we already have too many Asians! You don't see this as racist??

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Voting closed 18