Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boston Leftists obsessed with race in their schools

Boston Latin school is a highly selective school.  So few blacks can make the grade there.  What else is new about black educational limitations?  Why obsess about the inevitable?  But the race-obsessed Left cannot let it go

When some black students spoke out about their sense of isolation within Boston Latin School this year, it should have surprised exactly no one.

Black students have been disappearing from Boston Latin School since racial quotas were first challenged in court two decades ago.

Though a minority recruiting program for a time helped stanch the losses, Boston public school officials abandoned those efforts after a few years and let their premier school become overwhelmingly white and Asian — just as the judge who heard the 1995 legal challenge had predicted it would.

Today, Boston Latin looks nothing like the rest of the Boston public school system to which it belongs.

In an urban district that is overwhelmingly Latino, black, and poor, Boston Latin stands out: Just over a quarter of its students are poor, and more than three-quarters are white or Asian. Of the 2,430 students enrolled at Boston Latin this year, 514 come from a single neighborhood — West Roxbury, the Boston neighborhood that most resembles a suburb. Roxbury, the heart of the inner city, is home to just 67.

And unlike most other public schools, Boston Latin has well-heeled supporters looking out for its interests: An alumni association, founded in 1844 by an act of the Legislature, boasts a $39 million endowment, largely restricted to funding prizes and scholarships for Boston Latin graduates heading to elite colleges.

Though its sterling reputation puts it more in league with Phillips Academy than West Roxbury Academy, Boston Latin is a free public school — the best education money can’t buy, as some say. All Boston students have a shot at admission if they have the exam scores, grades, and savvy to compete for one of the 480 seats available each year. As a result, a disproportionate share of the city’s hopes are invested in Boston Latin. The lure of a Boston Latin diploma sustains many middle-class families through the years they might otherwise flee the uneven urban school system for suburban pastures.

“It keeps families anchored to this city,” said Peter G. Kelly, president of the Boston Latin School Association, the alumni and friends group that supports the school. “It’s a place of aspiration for the pipefitter and the baker and the social worker’s kids. That’s my own story, as the son of a nurse and a civil servant.”

It’s a romantic notion, to which alumni cling, but it’s being challenged by today’s black students, who wonder why they are so outnumbered. The racial gap, visible for years in the halls of Boston Latin and in the demographic data kept by school officials, raises uncomfortable questions in a city already uncomfortable about race.

Why are so few of the children of pipefitters and bakers and social workers accepted to Boston Latin today black? What does it say about a city school system that its most celebrated school is so unrepresentative of the city?

Change has never come easily to Boston Latin, whose founding in 1635 makes it the nation’s oldest school, “antedating Harvard College by more than a year,” as its website proudly notes. Of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, the school boasts, five went to Boston Latin.

As the most competitive of the city’s three exam schools, outpacing Boston Latin Academy and O’Bryant School of Math and Science, it claims the top tier of students who take the entrance exam each year. But it’s the only one of the three that has seen minority enrollment plummet.

A Globe review of Boston public schools data from the 1995-1996 school year to the current year revealed the following:

 *  The number of white students enrolled at Boston Latin today is almost exactly the same as it was 20 years ago — 1,156, down from 1,198 — even though the number of white applicants during that time fell 40 percent.

 *  Black enrollment plummeted 60 percent though the number of black applicants dropped much less precipitously, 33 percent.

 *  Asian students claimed the spaces once filled by black students and now make up 29 percent of the student body, up from 17 percent.

 *  Latinos’ numbers remained roughly steady over 20 years, though their applications surged 88 percent, more than any other racial group. They had almost nothing to show for it.

Broader demographic shifts played a part, of course: The city’s school-age population dropped more among black students than among whites during that time. The black students who stayed in Boston opted, in greater numbers, for the charter schools that began opening in 1995. Private schools recruited some standout students of all races who received free test preparation training through programs like the nonprofit Steppingstone Academy.

Today, black and Latino students make up 63 percent of the school-age children who live in Boston but leave its public schools for alternatives — whether in private, parochial, or charter schools, or special education or Metco programs in suburban public schools.

But none of that fully accounts for the changes at Boston Latin.

Twenty years after the courts invalidated the racial set-asides that had lifted black and Latino enrollment to 35 percent, Boston Latin’s student body of roughly 2,400 is now 11.6 percent Latino, 8.5 percent black, and 47 percent white. Districtwide, the Boston public schools are 42 percent Latino, 32 percent black, and 14 percent white.

That pattern is not unique to Boston. New York and other cities with similarly competitive public exam schools also saw minority admissions decline after affirmative action programs ended.

And the trend does not reflect diminished interest in Boston Latin compared with the other exam schools. It remains the top choice of students of every race who take the exam, a Globe review found. Since Boston Latin is the hardest of the three schools to get into, most students aim for it, even if they end up at another.

All of which leaves Boston public school officials in the same quandary they faced when race-based admissions were invalidated: If they aren’t allowed to consider diversity, how can they promote it? Boston Latin School accepts only the best of the best students, without regard to race.

“You can’t question a meritocracy,” said Michael Contompasis, the former Boston Latin School headmaster who led the school through the era of lawsuits in the 1990s. “What you can question is, does every kid have a fair shake in the district to sit for the exam and hopefully gain admission to an exam school if they choose to go?”

“The thing that’s concerning to me,” Contompasis added. “is that the number of black and Hispanic kids who choose to go there is lower than it was. The school should be doing something to encourage kids to come. . . . How do we get the message out that this is an opportunity for kids? How do we increase the number of kids that choose to go there when they have a tremendous amount of options?”


Radical!  Florida School Wants To Make Entire Campus A Free Speech Zone

As we continue to hear about the legions of precious cupcakes fighting to keep differing opinions, especially those that veer off the progressive path, from being tolerated on campus, on Florida school is pushing back. They’re fighting the snowflake hordes of Mordor. Florida Atlantic University has a free speech zone, but the local student governing body recently passed a resolution to make the current free speech zone encompass the entire campus. No safe spaces, but you, your ideas, and whether you have the maturity to defend them. I’m sure these cupcakes will be afraid that some of their peers are Trump supporters. Yes, you are free to pick the presidential candidate of your choice without fear of retribution. Some might be pro-life—yes, a sizable portion of the country, about half, view abortion as infanticide (they’re not wrong). Some people might have differing opinions on marriage. And a few students might–dare I say–support Second Amendment rights. Deal with it.

My friend and fellow blogger Bethany Bowra attends FAU, and wrote about the resolution that passed last week. Oh, and it wasn’t like the Obamacare vote–it passed with 91% of student government:

Enter Florida Atlantic University, where students are taking a stand for free speech and are ready to take their opinions to our administration. Our Student Government passed a resolution last week that would eliminate our free-speech lawn and define the entire campus as a free-speech zone.

I attend FAU and am politically active on campus. More than once, I’ve run into difficulty in putting on events because of the university’s restriction of political events to a designated free-speech lawn, tucked away on one side of campus. This lawn must be reserved at least ten business days in advance and its use approved by the administration; failure to reserve it results in your inability to use it. Its location makes it difficult to reach the greatest number of students, since only a few buildings are close enough to it to make it visible to passersby.
Thomas De Maio is a graduate student at FAU and serves as a member of Student Government. He authored a resolution that would eliminate our free speech lawn and allow free speech on all campus grounds, excluding only recreational and athletic buildings as off-limits. Below is a copy of the resolution, which passed by 91% of the student legislative body.

Bowra interviewed De Maio about the impetus for this resolution, where he said, “I think it is important for universities to protect student’s constitutional rights. Too often students are afraid to express themselves on college campuses, especially those who have political views that may not be popular with professors. I want students to feel comfortable expressing themselves throughout all college campuses.”

This is great. I wholeheartedly support any student, school, or institution that makes such declarations of free speech. It's holding the line against the nonsensical drivel coming from the snowflakes– folks who just can’t stand why everyone can’t be like them, think like them, or bow down to their dictatorial standards of how we should behave in America. This is a great country–let’s not turn it into North Korea. Sadly, in some schools, that’s the atmosphere. Hopefully, FAU will deliver a dome shot to that hellish left wing ethos.


UK: Rural primary schools at centre of academy battle are promised more cash

Small rural primary schools have been promised a major cash boost as part of an effort from the Education Secretary to win over Tory MPs who are in revolt over the government’s academy plans.

New figures from the Department for Education show 700 small schools in England are being deprived of the cash they need in an “unfair” funding system.

These schools in remote areas currently receive no extra resources to cope with the pressures of serving sparsely populated communities.

Many of these schools struggle because, while their classes are not full, they still have to employ the same numbers of teachers and support staff as if the school rolls were full.

Heating, lighting and cleaning services must also be funded to keep classrooms open even if there are far fewer pupils attending lessons than in urban areas.

If these schools closed, pupils would be forced to travel long distances to classes elsewhere.

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, pledged to re-write the government’s rules on school funding to provide extra cash for primaries – and a few secondaries - in sparsely populated areas of England.

She told The Sunday Telegraph that rural primaries were vital for “village life”.

“I want every school to get the funding it deserves and to ensure that we help small rural schools keep their character, independence, values and everything that makes them unique,” she said.

“Many rural schools have been underfunded for years through a system that is unfair and out of date. We are taking steps to deal with the unique issues they face.”

The Department for Education could not provide details of how the new funding system would work. A public consultation on reforming the national funding formula closed last week and officials are now analysing the responses.

The new arrangements are expected to take account of the “sparsity” of the communities that the schools serve. The schools that benefit will be those with fewer than 22 pupils in each primary school year group.

Mrs Morgan said the new funding formula, which will be launched next year, would "underpin the sustainability and future success of rural schools, ensuring they remain at the heart of the local community”.

The plans will be seen as an attempt to win support among Conservative backbench MPs, who are threatening to rebel over Mrs Morgan’s plan to force all state schools to become semi-independent academies.

Mrs Morgan, David Cameron and George Osborne want to remove all state primary and secondary schools from local council control in what they say will be a completion of years of reforms to give headteachers more powers over teachers’ pay and school timetables. 

Mr Osborne has said all schools in England must convert to become academies by 2020 or be committed to converting by 2022. Any school that does not convert will be forced to do so by ministers using radical new powers to intervene.

However, Tory MPs fear that remote rural schools which rely on support from their councils could lose the support they need or be forced to close by the executives running national chains of academies.


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