Yesterday I wrote how in its wisdom the Boston School Committee just turned the examination schools into zip code schools thus eliminating examination schools in the City of Boston. I suppose they can still call them by their former name but I’m not sure it will fool many because the proof will come down the line when the graduates prove not quite up to what they have been in the past. It is clear that when you enroll students less capable then the quality of the work product will be reduced. These schools should not have as a mission to bring students up to the level they should have been when they first entered. Spending time on that means they are not providing the students who are there on merit the education they should be receiving.
The Boston School Committee faced a real problem and what it did was punted. It gave up. It did not want to look at the factors that produced the problem but pretended the problem was caused by some inexplicable reason so to remedy it the Committee would ignore it because it could not be solved. What it did was equivalent to trying to make a championship track team by taking one child from each zip code rather than the best athletes.
The problem the Committee faced is that Black and Hispanic students are woefully underrepresented at the examination schools which have an overwhelming number of white and Asian students especially considering the make up of the public schools in Boston. The problem that the Boston School Committee finds inexplicable is the reason that is happening which is the Blacks and Hispanics are not as qualified as the others as shown by the examination results.
I would suggest rather than skipping over that problem the Boston School Committee try to remedy it. There is no reason why taking the proper steps the examinations could be retained and the makeup of the examination schools reflect the makeup of the school population. It may take time but his problem as been around for many years and surely with a good faith effort could have been solved by this time.
A straight forward and simple solution would be to bring the Black and Hispanic school children to the level where they can compete with the others. It is certainly not admitting they never will and throwing in the towel. What sort of insult is that to all those school children where it is suggested they are unable to compete with the others? What message does it send?
The Committee should be looking at how it can be done to bring out the best in those Black and Hispanic students of equal ability and intelligence as the others. Thinking of this I reflected back on my father who graduated from South Boston High School. He wanted to go to Boston College but was unable to qualify for admission. At the time though there was a school that was called Special Latin which he attended for one year. He then had a chance to gain the education he had been deprived of in his prior years. He showed at the end of one year such improvement in his knowledge and ability that he was then admitted. He problem was he had not received the proper education that showed what he could do academically.
I suggest the equivalent of Special Latin be made available in the Boston Public Schools. One or two schools should be set up to admit the students of promise at the third grade level by which time teachers of good will should be able to determine those who fit into that mold. The training and education in those schools should be intense for the four years which they are attended by these special students who show intellectual superiority, a disciplined approach to studies, and support from their homes. A curriculum of excellence created and teachers of superior ability assigned to educate them.
Just as there are special need students because of some disabilities so are there special students because of their extra abilities. They are being neglected. The public schools are charged with educating all students. They cannot pick and choose. The bright and the average and the less so are are all mixed together.
It is time to separate the best and the brightest and give them what they deserve.