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Exam-school admissions battle not over: Group appeals judge's decision

A group of White and Asian-American parents are appealing a judge's decision that the Boston School Committee did nothing wrong in the way it came up with a non-exam way to admit students to Boston's three exam schools for the coming school year.

The appeal could mean further delays for sixth graders and some eighth graders in learning if they can go to one of the three schools. BPS had originally planned to start sending out invitations yesterday.

The Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence Corp. filed its appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston almost immediately after US District Court Judge William Young ruled yesterday afternoon that BPS could go ahead with a plan that uses pre-Covid GPAs and Zip codes to determine who gets invited to attend Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O'Bryant School.

The group, which says it represents 14 specific families - 10 of them from West Roxbury - charges the alternative system, developed because of the pandemic, discriminates against Whites and Asian-Americans by increasing the odds of admission for Black and Hispanic students.

In his ruling, though, Young said the system was "race blind" and so not discriminatory. He praised the plan for ensuring students would be invited from all corners and socioeconomic groups in the city, although he cautioned his approval was just for the one school year, that if BPS does want to permanently eliminate exams, it would have to come up with a better system to increase diversity.




This small group of people is disrupting the education of thousands of students. There was a process for this, many hearings and debates were had. The former mayor that had overwhelming support from West Roxbury praised this plan. Just stop. Put your lawyers away. You're children are going to be great students no matter where they end up as long as you love them. Enough!


There's a case to be made that policy shouldn't be implemented by running out the clock on legal challenges but kids and parents need some clarity now about what's going on next year. Regardless of what happens with admissions for fall 2021, there will still be a fight next year anyways over fall 2022 admissions.


Ineresting. Why would you deprive this particular group their justice? Where's the equity in that?

How does this disrupt the education of thousands of students? Sending invitations in the summer would only impact one type of student: the type that doesn't plan on attending BPS if they don't get into an exam school. If a child is attending BPS regardless of whether they get in, it doesn't matter if they learn about their school earlier or later. In other words, your comment seems to address the concerns of private-school attendees who have to submit deposits -- despite the fact that this type of student should be disadvantaged under this policy.

"The former mayor that had overwhelming support from West Roxbury" -- while it is true that the majority of the parents contributing monetarily are from West Roxbury, please also note that the majority of Chinatown parents stand opposed to this policy. If they had the financial means to do so, they would have joined the lawsuit a long time ago.

"Many hearings and debates were had" -- to translate this into numbers, exactly two School Committee meetings, followed by many information sessions that explained the policy as a given. Also, at the second School Committee meeting, the chairman made racist remarks against Asian-Americans, who happened to be opposed to the policy...


doesn't have a child in 6th grade with very few options for a rigorous eduction that doesn't cost a fortune. Applying and getting your kids into college is a thousand times less stressful than trying to get your kid a good high school education in this city.
And I don't know too many in WR who liked Walsh let alone "overwhelmingly supported" him!

It's not true that great students will be successful at any BPS school. Very little learning happens in most of the low performing schools because of the constant disruption caused by students with social and emotional issues. In addition, if the school doesn't offer challenging classes good students will become discouraged. Home schooling and private schools will be solution for many families if they don't move out of Boston.


all BPS schools with a broad brush (and blame kids with disabilities). And you forgot to write that "Home schooling and private schools will be the solution for many white families if they don't move out of Boston." Because not all families have those choices.


Have the people flushing their money down the toilet on this lawsuit actually read the judge’s ruling? He ridiculed their case throughout:

“The Coalition, unwilling or unable to distinguish precedent...”

“When a group is as overrepresented as White and Asian students at the exam schools, it would appear that nearly any changes to the admissions process would have resulted in some reduction, if only from the law of averages.”

“The Equal Protection Clause is not a bulwark for the status quo.”

And in response to their central argument: “This is plainly not the law.”

There is no case law that supports their simple-minded arguments. Now they’re appealing with no chance of winning. All they’re doing is further delaying admissions letters for everyone else. Petty sour grapes.


It's about BLS only. BLA and the O'Bryant have diverse student bodies. Only BLS has too many white and Asian students for BPS's liking. Instead of educating all BPS elementary school students adequately (there's not even a standardized curriculum throughout the city's elementary schools) so that each and every BPS student can compete with any other student who lives in the city, BPS has basically thrown up its hands and said that they can't do what they are supposed to do so will just make it look like they are doing what they are supposed to do. It's not only BPS that is the issue; it's parents who do not take an active role in their child's education and prepare their kids for learning each day.

The proponents of this new zip-code system won’t be satisfied until they have torn down every working school and program in Boston. They want to destroy high-performing schools in the false hope that raising the “average” will deliver “equity”.

Instead, what will happen is another white (and Asian) flight to the suburbs with functioning local governments, low taxes, and high-performing schools. These working families will take their tax dollars, community service hours, and BPS fundraising efforts with them.

Yes, this will result in a better integrated BLS. But the quality of that school will decline and Boston will be a less favorable place to live for hard working educated parents. Be careful what you wish for.


Careful buddy, your dog whistle just entered human hearing range.


This unnecessary fight between two parental groups, people who otherwise see eye to eye on most things and vote for the same party in national elections, was created through the incompetence of the BPS board. They held sham hearings instead of conducting a proper community outreach. When parents who were going to be adversely affected, objected to the preliminary outline of their plan, the board disparaged those parents (google Michael Locoanto). BPS and its board have got what they deserve, a big stinking pile of trouble.

Does this BPS board even know what they have walked into? Do they understand why a high profile lawyer, one with extensive experience in appellant and Supreme Court cases, is representing the plaintiffs? There are similar cases in other states. These cases are also being argued by high-profile attorneys. These attorneys are setting up the groundwork for the real battle. Their ultimate goal is to get one of these cases all the way to the Supreme Court. The 6-3 Supreme Court.

The days of Affirmative-action-by-proxy are numbered.


Unless we're adding seats to BLS, any change will result in an adverse effect for someone. The bottom 1/3 of kids at BLS could easily be replaced by top achieving kids at other BPS high schools without any academic drop off in terms of school averages. All those parents who have kids at the top of their class at say, English, are adversely affected by the fact that they didn't get their kids into an exam school. Etc... If you're saying no changes can be made because someone will lose out, I mean...


... a quite fine school in its own right. Why should it be made into one again. Then there would be no need to add students to the exam schools. The big problem for Boston is not BLS admission policies, but the fact that most of our high schools and middle schools are doing a really poor job. Every Boston public school student should be entitled to a decent education -- and most are not getting one.


and admin that would help?


Read the briefs & the judge’s thorough slap-down and you can see why this lawyer and other RW hucksters like him keep losing these bogus reverse discrimination lawsuits. As the judge said they’re either “unwilling or unable to distinguish precedent” —in other words, they’re either incompetent or they know they don’t have a case, but just don’t care. In this case, I’d say it’s a little of both.

There is no such thing as reverse discrimination, “the equal protection clause is not a bulwark for the status quo” and your hopes for your case are based on a childish oversimplification of the law and the legal process.

If you’re one of the parents footing the bill for this case, now might be a good time to ask yourselves why so many other lawyers turned your case down. They knew there was no way to win. Your southern gentleman already lost another case on exam school admissions in Virginia. He isn’t doing this because he thinks he can win, he’s doing it for the publicity. Publicly that you’re paying for.

This will ultimately lead to programs like METCO being abolished or completely reinvented.


Rhetoric in this city is disgusting.

Respectfully asking for the the disparaging remarks aimed at Asian-Americans to stop please.