I have literally no connection to Boston Latin School. None. I do not know if the resignation of the administration was the appropriate action to take or not. But everyone else is popping off about it, I decided I might as well enter the fray.
The discussion of the racial climate at the school has broadened into a deeper discussion about why the student body of BLS does not reflect the demographic of BPS.
For those of you who live outside of Boston, admission to BLS is prestigious and based on an admissions test (ISEE) and scores for the 5th and 6th grade year.
Boston Public Schools is 87% minority on the whole.
Boston Latin School is 52% minority.
A significant portion of BLS students come from private and parochial settings. Only 60% of the student body is from Boston Public Schools. However, that is a higher percentage than in the past. As a parent in Boston, I have been advised, more than once, to send my children to a private school for elementary and then try to get them into BLS for middle and high school. You can see how well I take advice.
I believe that a great deal of BPS’s problem is the perception that BLS is the “only” good school in BPS. Not only do I not think that is true, my casual observation is that it is not necessarily the best high school in BPS. But that’s just my opinion. At any rate, BLS is the educational planet that all other BPS schools must orbit.
The new superintendent has promised to expand free test prep for BPS students in an attempt to diversify the school. It’s a start but I think the problem is much broader and deeper than that.
Urban schools across the country are imploding due to a lack of funding. Considering the demographics of urban school children, I have a hard time seeing this as anything but naked racism. Why is it that we have only one school that is considered “good?’ The issue is not the ISEE test. The issue is the elementary schools not adequately preparing the kids to be competitive so they can get into BLS.
After being through a couple of budget cycles now, I now believe that this shit runs deep and it’s systematic.
So I have a few other culprits for the lack of racial diversity and the climate at BLS.
• Mayor Walsh for refusing to adequately fund the school system though we are in a year of unprecedented growth and tax revenue. Does anyone really think our elementary children are going to be better prepared for Latin after the chaos he has put us through?
• The entire editorial board of the Boston Globe for being openly hostile to the students, parents and teachers of Boston Public Schools. Notice how they treat us when we stand up for ourselves as if education weren’t a right that free people should fight for. They spit out the mayor’s talking points as if they were his PR people and not the newspaper of record.
• Governor Baker for not supporting public education and actively seeking to dissolve it through a poorly thought out ballot measure that will only further defund and destabilize us. Massive school closures caused by this measure will only hurt our children.
• The entire school committee for not fighting for our interests even though that is what they have been charged to do by the city’s charter. This includes Superintendent Chang. How are our children going to compete for admission to Latin when they lose teachers every single year? How are they going to be competitive with year after year of resource reductions?
• Boston SPEDPac for not adequately informing and mobilizing its members around the budget cuts to special education. SPED kids are perfectly capable of performing at a level that will gain them admission to BLS. But they must have adequate support all the way through their school years. Access to a 4 week test prep course doesn’t cut it.
• The various foundations, non profits and educational organizations that have decided that Boston Public Schools’ budget is a giant champagne glass that they can jump in and soak up. Read QUEST latest press release and look through the emails, and then ask yourself how much of their involvement is about the children?
If any one of the above had decided that the children of Boston deserved the same
educational opportunities as those in the suburbs, we would not be where we are today. Instead, they have either directly contributed to or played along with the destabilization of our school district. They are just as culpable as the BLS administration.
In short, I think the lack of racial diversity at Boston Latin School is emblematic of a much deeper problem. The city of Boston does not take the education of its children seriously. So I will patiently await for all of their resignations. You can post them right here in the comments.