The Boston Globe is reporting that a group of Boston parents are asking a federal appeals court to overturn exam school admission decision and let their children attend.

The Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence believes the students had the grades to secure seats at Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the O’Bryant School, but were denied admission because there weren’t enough seats allotted to their Zip codes under the temporary policy.

This policy is no longer in use, but a new policy was implemented this year that also divides exam school spots by areas with similar socio-economic profiles.

The filing of documents with the appeals court is part of a larger movement with the hopes the court will reverse a ruling by a lower court judge last year that upheld the legality of an admission policy that allotted seats by grades and student zip codes.

The policy in question allowed more Black and Latino students to secure spots for the three top-tiered schools. Fewer Asian and white applicants were accepted based on the policy.

According to the Globe, the parents behind the appeal are hoping that new evidence not present when the court first made its ruling will help make their case. They believe the School Committee intended to discriminate against Asian and white applicants and include evidence of text messages between two School Committee members who made racially insensitive remarks about white parents from West Roxbury.

From the Globe Article:

Those text messages were never entered into the court record during the original district court case and school attorneys have said it was an oversight rather than an attempt to conceal evidence that could jeopardize their case. The revelation prompted a federal district court judge to withdraw his written opinion upholding the temporary policy, although the overarching decision itself still stands.

You can read more about this here. 

What do you think?




  1. Joe cook June 9, 2022 at 9:05 am - Reply

    I am totally against the zip code system it’s encouraging the dumbing down of America!!
    Either you pass the test or you don’t pure and simple !!!

  2. Jamia Gaffney June 9, 2022 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    I think a hybrid solution needs to be determined. Any test is going to naturally favor privileged kids who can afford test prep. There needs to be a way to admit the strongest students, and also have the demographics of the school reflect the population of the city. (Please note that I’m the mom of a white Southie kid who was accepted at Boston Latin, but declined. So the current system actually worked in our favor.)

  3. Maureen Murray June 9, 2022 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    I think to say the zip code system is encouraging the dumbing down of America is way off the mark but I do feel implementing the new zip code system as a solution reflects a drastic oversimplification of the problem. BLS, BLA & the O’Bryant are some of the best public high school options for Boston residents. The problem is that not every kid in the city has access to the same quality preparation for the entrance exam and for such challenging high school curriculums. Boston students do not all attend schools with comparable curriculums. Also, not all Boston families can afford private tutors and costly courses that many applicants utilize to be as prepared as possible. Also BPS “in school” exam preparation varies widely between different public schools, parochial and private schools. I think your survey needs a third option. I don’t think your first or second option is the right choice – they’re both overly simple “fixes”. To admit only students that can access or afford quality preparation is unfair and to admit students strictly on the basis of zipcode – who could likely be unprepared for the rigor of BLS, etc. – is also unfair . Instead the city should offer quality, extensive prep, starting as early as Grade 2, to every BPS student. Then every kid /family who wants to take advantage of the prep program can hopefully be end up on an even playing field when it comes to taking the exam schools entrance exam. Then all who are admitted would hopefully be ready to handle the curriculum at the exam schools. The zip code solution was trying to even the playing field without addressing the root cause – unequal and uneven access to quality preparation, across the city. This problem of unequal/uneven opportunity requires a much more involved solution than the zip code plan. The whole city will benefit if access to quality preparation for secondary education becomes available to all.

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