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Sunday, October 25, 2020

波士頓亞美教育者協會支持波士頓考試學校暫停考試一年

The Massachusetts Asian American Educators Association (MAAEA) represents many Asian American educators in the Boston Public Schools and around the Commonwealth. The proposal to change admissions to the Boston Exam Schools for the 2021-2022 school year is not perfect, but we support it as the best option for this year, given the health concerns many families have. More Asian families in BPS chose remote learning than any other racial group. It is important to protect the health of our families and recognize the disruptions that this pandemic has caused.  

MAAEA is a pro-access, pro-diversity, and pro-affirmative action organization. We support increased diversity and equity of access to the exam schools, in which Black and Latinx communities have been underrepresented.  Fundamentally, we want all students to have a high quality education regardless of the school they attend, exam school or not. We recognize that BPS is stratified, and that the exam schools, particularly BLS have many more resources than other Boston Public Schools. Students who attend exam schools often have more opportunities. The system that BPS has been using for exam school admission has the illusion of fairness, but the reality is that family money and privilege give some communities a unfair advantage in this system.  It is imperative that seats at the exam schools be distributed thoughtfully, with equity and opportunity in mind. 


We want to share five concerns about the creation and implementation of this plan as we look to the future.


First, individual family incomes and other measures of opportunity should be used instead of zip codes. We support the efforts that the committee has made to increase diversity and increase access to the exam schools.  However, zip codes do not allow BPS to identify low-income families in highly gentrified areas. For example, low income students living in the projects and public housing of South End, Charlestown and Chinatown will need to compete with students living in luxury developments and upscale condos. 


Second, seats should be reserved for students who attend BPS in elementary school.  It is inequitable to give so many exam school seats to private school students who have opted out of the system and can afford to stay in private schools.  Seats should be reserved for families who cannot afford private school tuition and have trouble navigating the complex world of private school admissions and financial aid.  It may be news to some readers, but Asian residents of Boston, and by extension Asian families in BPS, have poverty rates on par with Latinx families and median incomes on par with Black families according to the Boston Public Health Commission.  BPS Asian students are generally not the children of doctors, scientists, and engineers.  They are the children of restaurant, hotel, home care, and nail salon workers.  Many of our families don’t have the resources, networks, or language skills to navigate or even know about METCO or private, parochial, charter, pilot, or innovation schools.  According to the BPS 2019-2020 At-A-Glance report, Asian school age children have the highest enrollment in BPS compared to other racial groups at 87%, compared to Latinx families at 83%, Black families at 62% and then white families at 58%.  For many of our families, exam schools feel like their only option for a high quality education. 

 

Third, our families have been left in the dark about this proposal and have been left to get their news second and third hand.  We understand that the proposal was developed with severe time constraints in the face of a pandemic.  However, as we have seen too many times in the last six months, and uncountable times in the last few decades, BPS treats non-English speaking families as an afterthought, even though half of BPS families speak a language other than English.  We recently discovered that summary letters about this proposal were posted on the BPS Exam School website a week ago, but no one in the community that we know of has known about the letters. It's not enough to post letters and expect for the non English speaking families to find them. Even if outreach were sufficient, one week is not enough to understand this proposal.  BPS can’t call itself an anti-racist or culturally responsive district if it continues this English-first mentality.  


Fourth, all BPS families have a right to know what is happening and to be part of the decision making process. This includes the Asian community.  Members of our organization remember how the buses of Chinese students were stoned as they were bussed from Chinatown to Charlestown. At the time, there was no consultation or consideration for our community--we were left on our own to figure it out.  This pattern of BPS and Boston making decisions for us without us has been continuing for decades.  


Fifth, a quality educational experience is not just about test scores and college admission statistics. Most Asian students in BPS are concentrated in a few schools. Despite having large numbers at these schools, too many feel invisible and are not getting the help they need.  In the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Assessment data (YRBS), 82% of BPS Asian middle school students said they rarely or never get the kind of help they need, 12 percentage points higher than any other group.  The same survey found that more Asian students attempted suicide than any other group in BPS. This is a silent crisis that needs to be addressed, a crisis that can’t be seen in test scores and achievement data. 


Our families, like all families, want quality schools and opportunity for their children. But they have been used, ignored, and rendered invisible for decades. They have real needs that are going unaddressed.  They want to be informed and be part of decisions that affect them. They want to be seen and heard. Our organization supports the proposal to BPS Exam School admissions for 2021-2022, even though it is not perfect.  We hope to work together with students, families, and the Boston Public Schools to improve the educational experience of all students in the Boston Public Schools.


Massachusetts Asian American Educators Association


Endorsements/Sign ons:

 

Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW)

Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC)

Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK)

Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC)

Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)

Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC)

Revere Youth in Action (RYiA)

South Asian Worker Center - Boston (SAWC)

VietAID

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