Boston Parents Sue Alleging Discrimination Against Asians and Whites In Change of Prestigious Public School Admissions
Group alleges that new plan to allocate spots according to zip codes is intended “to disfavor certain racial and ethnic groups (Asian and White applicants) while favoring others (Latino and African-American applicants) to increase black and latino student enrollment”
Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence (BPCAE) has sued over changes in how students are admitted to a small number of prestigious public schools.
Previously, admission was based on test scores, but Boston, claiming the results were racially unequal, decided to factor in zip codes as to admission. The result would be to exclude many asian-american and white students who otherwise would have gained admission. The parents group alleges the use of zip codes was a subterfuge for illegal use of race and ethnicity.
Asra Nomani has the story:
This past October 21, Michael Loconto, chair of the Boston School Committee, led a meeting of city’s school officials when he got caught in a hot mic moment, mocking the names of Asian American parents waiting to challenge a controversial vote to eliminate the merit-based test to the city’s “exam schools” and impose a new quota admissions plan based on zip codes. The change would target the number of Asian American and white students at the schools, and school policymakers voted that night to make the change, despite the culture of bigotry in which the vote was cast.
Today, 14 families, represented by the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence, fought back, filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts against the Boston School Committee and Boston Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, alleging the “Zip Code Quota” admissions plan is unconstitutional and violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and state law, which guarantee equal protection under the law. Among the families, eight families are Asian American and six families are white.
The complaint argues convincingly that Boston educrats are using zip codes as a proxy for race and ethnicity to put in place a social engineering scheme that punishes certain children based on the zip code in which they live. Attorneys for the parents filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the new zip code quotas and argued in a memorandum that the zip code quotas have a “racially disparate” impact on admissions. The Boston School Committee has argued the plan would bring “equity” to its “exam schools,” including Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science.
The Boston Globe further reports:
The admissions plan for this fall awards 20 percent of seats in the three schools based exclusively on grades. The remaining 80 percent of seats are awarded based on grades and ZIP codes, with the largest number going to the neighborhood with the greatest proportion of the city’s school-age children.
Under this plan, the lawsuit says, the defendants are “subordinating the longstanding merit-based citywide competition to a newly-created, and wholly-irrational quota system based on zip codes, which have never been a unit of educational qualification, and which are being purposefully used here as a proxy for race and ethnicity.”
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of 14 sixth-grade students of Chinese, Indian, and white ancestry who have applied to one or more of the exam schools and their parents, who are members of the organization, according to the filings.
The Complaint has embedded and also attached as Exhibits numerous exhibits documenting how zip codes are being used as a proxy for race and ethnicity. Here is the Introduction:
“Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people, and therefore are contrary to our traditions and hence constitutionally suspect.” Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 570 U.S. 297, 309 (2013) (citations and quotations omitted). In contravention of this fundamental principle of American values – and constitutional law – the Defendants have imposed upon the school children of Boston a racial and ethnic classification system for entry into its most prestigious public schools: the Boston Latin School, the Boston Latin Academy, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, known collectively as the Boston Exam Schools.
Defendants achieved this by subordinating the longstanding merit-based citywide competition to a newly-created, and wholly-irrational quota system based on zip codes, which have never been a unit of educational qualification, and which are being purposefully used here as a proxy for race and ethnicity (the “Zip Code Quota Plan”). By depriving some school children of educational opportunity based on their race or ethnicity, Defendants do great harm, not only to the children they seek to exclude but also to the Boston Exam Schools, which they would use as the instruments of their discrimination, to the City of Boston, and to this country’s cherished principle of equal protection.
It is to vindicate these important interests – and to safeguard the educational opportunities that Defendants would impair – that the Boston Parents bring their Complaint before this Court.
The Complaint alleges discriminatory intent and result:
25. The Defendants’ purpose in recommending, adopting and implementing the Zip Code Quota Plan is to disfavor certain racial and ethnic groups (Asian and White applicants) while favoring others (Latino and African-American applicants).
26. The effect of the Zip Code Quota Plan is likewise to disfavor certain racial and ethnic groups (Asian and White applicants) while favoring others (Latino and African-American applicants).
* * *
33. The purpose and effect of the Zip Code Quota Plan are to use zip codes as precisely such a proxy for race and ethnicity, so as to artificially favor Latino and African-American students to the detriment of Asian and White students. This violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
At its website and in the Complaint, BPCAE documents the history of the fight over the changed admissions standards, including this chart from a presentation (pdf.) by the Boston school committed proposed to shift racial and ethnic admissions would by factoring in zip codes.
Nomani points out the importance of parents taking action, like these parents have:
Rather than working to effectively improve the academic skills of Black and Hispanic students to increase their enrollment in advanced studies programs, educrats are lazily implementing remedies to gut these program of their high-level merit-based standards and then alleging racism against parents who call them out on their flawed schemes.
Unless parents, like the 14 brave families in Boston, stand up and oppose the divisive ideology of critical race theory city by city, we will continue to face a future in which our communities are sliced and diced by race, zip code and ethnicity — in this disturbing new racism of critical race theory that we must reject and replace with a philosophy of a truly inclusive humanity — beyond race and zip codes.
No one person or group of parents can solve all the problems. But focus on fighting back in your own school district. We will discuss this issue at our upcoming Virtual Event: How Critical Race Training is Harming K-12 (March 3, 7 p.m. ET)DONATE
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