By Meg Woolhouse
February 26, 2021
A selective program for high-performing fourth, fifth and sixth graders in Boston has suspended enrollment due to the pandemic and concerns about equity in the program, GBH News has learned.
Superintendent Brenda Cassellius recommended the one-year hiatus for the program, known as Advanced Work Classes, saying the district would not proceed with the program for new students next year.
“There’s been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address,” 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.”
New students will be admitted in the fourth grade by standards to be determined at the school level, according to a BPS spokesman.
There will be no new students admitted in the fifth or sixth grades, the spokesman said, but those already in advanced work will be allowed to continue.
A district analysis of the program found that more than 70 percent of students enrolled in the program were white and Asian, even though nearly 80 percent of all Boston public school students are Hispanic and Black.
School Committee member Lorna Rivera said at a January meeting that she was disturbed by the findings, noting that nearly 60 percent of fourth graders in the program at the Ohrenberger school in West Roxbury are white even though most third graders enrolled at the school are Black and Hispanic.
“This is just not acceptable,” Rivera said at a recent school committee meeting. “I’ve never heard these statistics before, and I’m very very disturbed by them.”
These statistics must be unique to Boston and to the year 2021. Who ever heard of racial disparities in cognitive ability in any other place or time?
But the Not So Great Reset, in which covid is used as an excuse to destroy institutions in which blacks don’t perform as well as whites, doesn’t seem to apply to New York City …