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Parents unhappy with the way BPS changed exam-school admissions ask Supreme Court to weigh in - two months after court refused to hear similar Virginia case

A group of white and Asian-American parents - and their California-based law firm - this week asked the US Supreme Court to overturn rulings by federal courts in Boston that the School Committee did nothing wrong when it changed the way students are accepted to the three exam schools by including Zip codes in addition to grades as a criterion.

By itself, the request doesn't mean the nation's highest court will actually hear the case. In fact, in February, the court declined to hear a similar case involving an exam school in Fairfax County, VA - brought by the same law firm that represents the Boston group, the Pacific Legal Foundation of Sacramento.

The Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence - made up of parents and one Cohasset resident who went to BLS - argue the new plan was racially biased because it reduced the percentage of White and Asian-American students at Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the John O'Bryant School of Math and Science. The School Committee has since amended the plan to include a results of a standardized test, but the current requirements still include a geographic component as a way to boost the number of Black and Hispanic students without specifically using race as a criterion.

In their request for a Supreme Court hearing - which is not guaranteed - the group says the way applicants from certain Zip codes were essentially given bonus points represents unconstitutional "racial balancing." They say the proof is that the percentage of white and Asian-American students accepted to the exam schools dropped from 61% to 49% - which is still far higher than their percentages in BPS as a whole.

In earlier rulings, both a federal trial judge and a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the new admissions policy - even after having to give the matter a second thought after BPS nonsense that included the resignation of three of the School Committee's seven members over what they said or texted at the 2020 meeting at which the new policy was adopted.

In its second ruling on the case, this past December, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said that rather than being racially biased, the news admissions policy actually decreased racial disparities by bringing the number of Black and Hispanic student at the three schools closer to their numbers in the overall BPS system. It also said that even in the Harvard case, in which the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative-action acceptance, the court said schools could craft admissions policies aimed at ending racial disparities that did not involve specific questions related to an individual student's race.

Supreme Court docket for the case.

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Comments

Like all the kids that are currently going to BPS that live in Brockton, Randolph, Taunton, etc., using an address of a relative that lives in Boston these parents just need fake addresses in tiers that get bonus points.that's Much easier than fighting BPS.

And Catholic Memorial and BC High must be seeing more applicants now?

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Voting closed 55

My Boston mailbox... $1,000 monthly

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Voting closed 20

Geographic distribution is pretty race-neutral. Glad that obnoxious West Roxbury kids won't dominate the school anymore.

And again, Latin School ain't all that. The teachers get there through seniority in the BTU contract, in some cases being the only applicants available for the subject matter (eg Latin). Some are lazy or insane.

The reputation rides on the laurels of having taken the best performers on standardized tests in Boston and then ruthlessly kicking out the tired, the rebellious and the bored. The survivors tend to be good obedient credential-hunting college application candidates.

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Voting closed 47

There were a lot of cases where Courts ruled legal-seeming actions because of interpreted intent. DACA is a good example of that. Trump said it wasn't legal and tried to cancel it. Seems like a no brainer he could do that; one President created DACA out of thin air with a stroke of a pen, then the next President undid it with a stroke of a sharpie. The Courts said Trump's intent was racist so kept DACA running, despite it not being consistent with the laws passed by Congress.

It's not hard to show that the change to exam school admissions was driven by race not geography. The decisionmakers weren't saying too many kids from WR were going to exam schools. They were arguing that too many white/asian kids were going to exam schools.

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Voting closed 47

The reputation rides on the laurels of having taken the best performers on standardized tests in Boston and then ruthlessly kicking out the tired, the rebellious and the bored. The survivors tend to be good obedient credential-hunting college application candidates.

I can remember my first few months at Latin Academy as a Sixie (seventh grader) - a majority of people left in droves because they couldn't hack the expectations or the coursework (2 hours of homework a night, college-level education), while others were invited to leave (getting consecutive "F's" in a term, excessive tardiness) or expelled (harassment, bringing a gun to school, drugs). It didn't stop at Sixie level either - some who were juniors decided that they couldn't hack it and went to another school for their senior year. Those who left the exam schools went to another school with less rigor and thrived - the rumor that a "B" at the exam schools was worth an "A" elsewhere rang true.

The remaining students who stayed behind were those who those only interested in the college application/selection/acceptance process; those who did stellar work but kept to themselves; those who did decent work (not exactly straight A's, but enough to stay well above water); and those who treading water but didn't leave because they had a deep social network.

I (with a group of BLA graduates) went back to talk about my experience at BLA and the students there were only interested in how to increase their SAT scores. I decided to leave early, much to the chagrin of the people who invited me.

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Voting closed 43

Geographic distribution is not in any way race neutral as a result of housing segregation but the current formula is messed up because census tracts are drawn in such a random way and the key variable is the amount of poverty within the tract. The Charlestown Navy Yard census tract includes the housing projects on Medford Street so wealthy kids in the Navy Yard with harbor views get in automatically as it is deemed a low income tract. Similarly, if you live in the Ritz, the glassy tower overlooking the Common, you are in automatic because it is paired with the low incomes of Chinatown. Meanwhile a low income kid who lives in a multi-family around Andrews Square has little chance because the tract is drawn around the nearby subsidized housing projects so it does not just as low income. At the end of the movie the advocates for change got their way as applications for the exam schools have dropped by 40% and families with any money choose private or move.

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Voting closed 60

It's still a deeply flawed policy to sort kids based on geography and the economic status of the student body in a given school. I don't think pitting neighborhoods and schools against each other is good for parental support of BPS in the long run. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in BPS enrollment in the next 10 years. With no good option for HS, my family (tier 8) went private.

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Voting closed 42

...how about having the exam schools open only to graduates of Boston public schools?

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“Glad that obnoxious West Roxbury kids won't dominate the school anymore.” Are you one of those former school committee members Adam references above douche bag?

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Voting closed 44

“Glad that obnoxious West Roxbury kids won't dominate the school anymore.” Are you one of the 3 school committee members Adam mentions above or just a random douche bag?

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Voting closed 52

..if I moved to Rozzie or West Roxbury to live in a crap triple decker or a house with aluminum siding and a chain link fence near crap restaurants with poor public transit with the intenti8n of letting my kid coast into an exam school and then having it go to some poor kid of another race,

(This was sarcasm and pointing out how wrong the thinking is)

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Voting closed 17

How many sockpuppets do you have, "Michael," HP Boy?

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BPS lost middle class, even working class kids with the $, a long time ago. BPS has sucked for a LONGTIME. Minus Latin until recently. Do you have something against white kids? My impression is your post is tinged with bigotry. Anything to say about "obnoxious" Asian kids, Latino/Hispanic kids?

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Voting closed 41

Found the kid that didn't get accepted. Can you show us where on the doll The Latin School touched you?

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Voting closed 29

Some things never change. You Latin kids are charmin soft...

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Voting closed 19

Since a high school seems to live rent free in your head.

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Voting closed 32

Someone's been doing their homework. This is my throwaway, I usually post under the name "MisterMagooForYou".

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Voting closed 20

Oh this is easy, make all BPS schools exam schools.

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Voting closed 29

Love the irony of the author and others like him that never talked about diversity while their child attended BLS but act holier than thou upon their graduation

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Voting closed 43

Racial diversity, huh? Oh, surely you haven't forgotten what Black at BLS was all about, when daughter was a student there. It's one of my few scoops, so I sure remember it. Also see this and this.

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Voting closed 32

Only counts when it helps white people

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Voting closed 14