The Boston School Committee has unanimously approved an overhaul of the way students are selected for admission to the city’s elite public schools based on grades, an entrance exam, and socioeconomic status, reports the Associated Press.
“We have come to a place where we are ready to move this district forward,” committee Chair Jeri Robinson said at last week’s meeting.
Under the new system, students will receive a composite score based on an admissions test and grades, then invitations to Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy and O’Bryant School of Math and Science will go out based on rank within eight socioeconomic tiers.
Each tier will be allocated about the same number of places.
The plan was opposed by some parent groups that wanted 20 percent of the spots at the schools set aside for the best applicants regardless of socioeconomic status.
Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said she supported the change because it is easy to understand, maintains academic rigor, and increases the opportunity for disadvantaged students.
“What is being considered tonight I believe to be a huge step forward for our students, especially our students who have not been able to access our exam schools through no fault of their own,” Superintendent Brenda Cassellius told the committee.
The admissions process has been contentious for years, with some saying it favors White and Asian students who have been admitted at disproportionately higher rates than their Black and Latino peers.
The new policy replaces a process that has been used for more than two decades and allocated seats to applicants in rank order based on an equal weighting of grades and entrance exam scores.