A federal judge today held off any action on a bid by a group of White and Asian-American parents to block the way the Boston school system plans to enroll students in the three exam schools until at least March 16 to give the two sides - and lawyers for groups representing Black, Latino and other Asian-American parents - time to try to agree on the basic facts of the case.
A group calling itself the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence Corp. sued Boston Public Schools over the 2021/2022 exam-school admissions plan last week, alleging it discriminates against White and Asian-American students in the way it uses students' 2019 GPA rankings and Zip codes to make up for the lack of exams this year due to what BPS says is Covid-19-related issues. It asked for a judge to block the plan.
At a hearing today, US District Court Judge William Young granted several other groups - the NAACP Boston Branch, the Greater Boston Latino Network , the Asian Pacific Islanders Civic Action Network and the Asian American Resource Workshop - the right to become parties to the case. Doreen Rachal, a lawyer for the groups, said they support the BPS position but that they moved to intervene in the case because of concern BPS lawyers might not fully represent the concerns of minority students in BPS.
Kay Hodge, a lawyer for BPS, said that because of the suit, invitation letters could be delayed until at least mid-April.
Because time is of the essence in the case - the longer it goes on, the longer it could delay admissions to Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O'Bryant School - Young emphasized the need for the three sides to come up with facts they could all agree on. Without such an agreement, the parties might have to engage in discovery, a potentially lengthy process of legal interviews of people involved in the issue, before he could even begin to consider the potential legal and constitutional issues involved in the case.
"This is a case that cries out for prompt action, but prompt action on a carefully considered record," Young said.
Young said his initial reading of the filings suggest that should not be difficult, because they include a series of fairly straightforward issues related to the School Committee's decision in October to use the plan for one year, such as the basic racial demographics of BPS students and the specifics of the plan the committee adopted.