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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Advanced classes cancelled for having too many smart, white kids

By: V4 Agency

School officials were “disturbed” to find that a program offering advanced learning classes had a disproportionate number of white and Asian students, underserving black students. Citing alleged inequities, the program was cancelled, even though officials blamed it on the coronavirus pandemic.

Until recently, high-performing Boston Public Schools students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades had an option to learn in advanced classes, allowing them to study their subjects in a deeper and non-traditional manner. A fresh report showed, however, that the advanced classes had too many white students, underserving black and Hispanic students.

School officials eventually decided to suspend the Advanced Work Classes program. The pandemic has brought „a lot of inequities to the light” which we need to address,” Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told WGBH 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,” she added.

However, after several news sites wrote that the program was cancelled due to alleged “inequity” issues, Ms Cassellius changed her original statement and cited the pandemic as the main reason.

Data suggests that more than 70 per cent of the students in the program were white or Asian, while nearly 80 per cent of the students in the district are Hispanic or black. A school committee member found the situation “unacceptable” and said she was “very disturbed” by the statisics.

Students already enrolled in the program can continue, but no new applicants will be admitted, partly because the pandemic makes the organisation of the entrance exam difficult. The fate of the program will be decided later.

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