Boston Public Schools is suspending applications for the school district’s “Advanced Work Classes” program due to the pandemic…and apparently, concerns that too many white and Asian kids are enrolled in the program.
The curriculum, intended for “high-performing fourth, fifth and sixth graders,” according to WGBH, will continue for those children already enrolled, but no new candidates are being accepted. Why? Well, because of COVID. But school officials are also concerned because it turns out that more than 70 percent of students enrolled in the program are white and Asian – despite the fact that 80 percent of the entire school district is Black.
"There's been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address," Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told GBH News. "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."
To get into the program, all students are given a placement test. Those who score the highest are placed in a lottery, and those whose names are drawn are then invited to apply for the program. Of the 453 students who were invited last fall, only 143 students applied and 116 were enrolled, WGBH reports.
At a recent meeting, school board member "Lorna Rivera said it was "not acceptable" that 60 percent of fourth graders in the AWC program at the local Ohrenberger school were white, even though the majority of the school's students are Black and Hispanic.
"I've never heard these statistics before, and I'm very very disturbed by them," she said.
Cassellius later told the outlet the program was being suspended because the pandemic has made it impossible to give the tests, not because of “equity issues.”
But Boston is far from the only school district that’s screamed “racism” in the classroom based on who’s getting good grades and who’s not. The Oregon Department of Education recently declared that “upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers” in math is reflective of “white supremacy culture.”