Boston reviews admissions to exclusive exam schools

“Although the plan claims to level the playing field and create improved access, it is not,” she said. “It’s unclear, untested, and uninformed by families in town.”

City Councilor Andrea Campbell, a Boston Latin School graduate and mayoral candidate, said in a statement she had “heard from hundreds of parents excited about the change and equally concerned about the impact of this new policy . them because they don’t see any other great option for their student in the BPS system, which I think proves that this unfair system is lacking for all of us.

Many expect the new policy to be the subject of a legal challenge. But others were in the mood to celebrate.

“There is a historic debt to families and students of color in Boston public schools,” said Peter Piazza, education researcher, describing a litany of efforts to resist the desegregation of the city’s schools, including including the violent bus riots that rocked the city in the 1970s.

“The so-called exam schools are a tiny part of this story,” he said. “But access is extremely important for students, whose lives can be changed by the opportunity. We owe them a debt. Let’s pay it 100 percent.

Boston’s racial tensions have always spilled over into public opinion when the topic turns to schools. The standoff over school admissions for exams led to the abrupt and awkward departure of three school committee members.

Committee chairman Michael Loconto resigned last fall after being surprised, during a taped Zoom meeting, mocking the last names of Asian-American parents making public comments on the matter.

This was followed by the publication of text messages exchanged between two other members, Alex Oliver-Dávila and Lorna Rivera, expressing their frustration with the parents of West Roxbury, whom one of them called “Westie whites”.

Ms. Oliver-Dávila and Ms. Rivera also resigned.

Sarah Mervosh contributed reports.

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