We saw the controversy over Boston Latin School which basically came down the idea that there were not enough blacks at that high performing school. There was no deliberate segregation of blacks, or for that matter Latinos. It was just they do not have the scores to compete with the Asian and white kids.
Oh, yes, there was also the finding by the soon to be departed Boston U. S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz that its intensive examination of all the incidences that had occurred at that school over a six or more year period including the interviewing of over 200 people she could point to one, yes one, instance where one student did something horribly racist to a black student. Rather than suggesting that even though that one incident was way out of line given that the school had only that one among the thousands upon thousand of interactions among the many hundreds of students going in and out of its doors each day over the more than one thousand school days of its study the school should be highly praised.
That would be the conclusion a fair person would come to. She on the other hand imposed some draconian punishment on the school. Sadly the feeble school administration accepted it without a murmur. That seems to me the real problem with the Boston Public Schools which is the plethora of administrators that do nothing for the education of the children.
The whole episode of alleged bias against black and Latino students and the allegation of an unfriendly atmosphere for them at the school was really a complaint that their numbers at Boston Latin were out of proportion with their enrollment in the Boston School system.
Aside from them not making the grade in examinations there is another reason for this and it is the METCO program where many bright and talented black children are bused out to the suburban schools to be educated. It is a recognition that the schools in Boston are woefully deficient in providing the education that parents seek.
Some day a Latino group will rise up and demand that they too have the opportunity to bus their kids from the Boston schools out to the suburbs where they can receive a better education. Then the quiet Asians will speak up.
Or, even better, some day blacks and Latinos will get together and recognize that the city schools stink; suburban schools are good; and such a disparity should not exist because the state has an obligation to provide the same type of education for all its children. They will demand that not only should they be bused out of the inner city schools but that the suburban kids be bused into the inner city schools.
Imagine if they brought such a suit how the suburban folk would scream. They were silent during the busing days of the 1970s thinking it was all right for the city kids to be bused to the lousy schools in the city; but to think they would have to send their kids to those schools would horrify them. That in itself is an admission that it is all right for Latino and black kids to go to horrible schools but white kids must be exempt from doing that.
Some day we will start to see that this white, black, Latino and Asian designation will molt away and all the children will be considered as Americans and no American will want some American child to have drastically less than any other child as now happens. There is something that can be done in the interim which may make that drastic step of massive busing unnecessary.
Boston has one of the best schools in the country in Boston Latin. Why is it that it does not have schools of such high quality as Latin at the lower levels. Isn’t it time after all these years of running in circles and fighting the charter schools and busing kids out of the city for better educational opportunity to start having excellent exam type schools at those lower levels.
It is long past time for Boston to become interested in finding those gems among our youth, those unpolished stones, who can achieve brilliance when properly polished up. Start with one school and put in it the best of everything; locate it in an area where the children are doing the worst; and see how it works out.
Make it a magnet school where the staff, teachers and education are so good it will draw students from all over the city. Time to get down to basics and understand the purpose of having a school system. It is to give each child the best education he or she is capable of receiving. Why not try to do this?