Boston public schools cancel new advanced classes for high performing students because of racial inequalities

News & Politics

Boston Public Schools officials said that a program with advanced learning classes would be cancelled over concerns that the classes served disproportionate racial groups.

The program known as Advanced Work Classes was intended to serve high-performing students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grade. Students are encouraged to study their subjects in a deeper and non-traditional manner.

School officials became concerned when a report showed that the program was disproportionately serving white students, and underserving black and Hispanic students.

The district analysis found that more than 70% of the students in the program were white or Asian, while nearly 80% of the students in the district are Hispanic or black.

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“This is just not acceptable,” said School Committee member Lorna Rivera in a school meeting in January. “I’ve never heard these statistics before, and I’m very very disturbed by them.”

Rivera cited one finding at one school that showed the program included 60% white fourth graders though a majority of third graders are black or Hispanic.

Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told WGBH News on Friday that they would put the program on hiatus over the racial findings.

“There’s been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address,” Cassellius said. “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.”

Students would be eligible in the program if they scored high on a test in third grade. Of those, participants were chosen by lottery. Officials said 453 students were invited to the program last fall, 143 students applied and 116 enrolled for the 2021 year.

Cassellius said students already enrolled in the program could continue, but it would be phased out for fourth and fifth grades.

Here’s more about disparities at Boston public schools:


Disparities in the Boston Public Schools

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1 Comment

  1. There is a preparation process for any test. Teachers know this. This is also an indictment of schools teaching quality. Students have to want to learn as well. If only 116 made it into accelerated classes out of the entire public school system, then that sucks. I think this should be a wake up call to the school board that they are not committing enough to some schools or all schools. Lets be honest the public school systems get boatloads of money (especially now) and it never seems to make into the schools. Before any of you shout back, I have 2 words for you – School Supplies! More and more the parents have to pony up for more and more supplies that used to be provided. I’m not talking pens and pencils, but actual learning materials. Teachers have admitted that they end up buying the necessary items, while the school boards funnel money into the failed pension system, excessive executive salaries and kicking back into democrat campaign funds. Their only way out is to claim racism. Crying Racism is the new Cry Wolf. After a while no one listens because we all know it is BS.

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