Boston Public Schools has suspended testing for and new enrollment in a selective program for academically advanced fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, with officials raising questions of “equity” after discovering a majority of the program’s students are white or Asian.
Admission to the program, known as Advanced Work Classes, has been officially paused due to COVID-19, but district officials seem poised to use the program’s COVID shutdown to introduce social engineering and a demographic overhaul. At current count, 70% of students enrolled in the program are of white or Asian descent, while the racial makeup of Boston Public Schools as a whole is roughly 80% black and Hispanic.
To qualify for admission, students must take a test known as “Terra Nova” in 3rd grade, with those receiving the highest scores being entered into a lottery inviting them to apply to the program. According to local media reports, last year, 453 students received invitations to apply, with 143 students accepting and 116 being granted admission.
According to school officials, interest in the program has dropped in recent years amidst a rapid demographic shift in the school district and Boston as a whole, with only five schools still offering the classes to qualified students.
“This is just not acceptable,” School Committee member Lorna Rivera said at a January Committee meeting after learning of the program’s demographic makeup. “I’ve never heard these statistics before and I’m very, very disturbed by them,” Rivera continued, bemoaning the successes of the district’s white and Asian students.
Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius has also slammed the demographic makeup of the program, saying it shows Boston Public Schools have a long way to go in becoming “anti-racist.”
“There’s been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address,” says Cassellius. “There’s a lot of work we have to do in the district to be antiracist and have policies where all of our students have a fair shot at an equitable and excellent education.”
The shutdown of Boston’s Advanced Learning Classes represents just the latest in a nationwide string of racially-motivated changes to the way America’s children learn.
As previously reported by National File, late last year, Northern Virginia school officials scrapped admissions testing and standards at Thomas Jefferson High School, the nation’s top public school, in favor of a race-based lottery meant to admit more “diverse” students.