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Sunday, February 28, 2021

波士頓考試學校修改入學辦法 華裔等家長提告

             (Boston Orange編譯)去年11月成立的追求學術優異波士頓家長聯盟(Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence)”上週五(26)提出聯邦訴訟,要求制止波士頓公校以學生居住地點郵遞區號,做為考試學校今秋錄取程序的一部分。

             該訴訟稱,波士頓公校這3所考試學校的新錄取政策,違反了學生們的憲法權利,而且會人為的對拉丁裔及非洲裔學生有利,對亞裔及白人學生有害。

                            這訟案預定週三開庭聆訊,被告包括波士頓公校總監,學校委員會委員等人。

             追求學術優異波士頓家長聯盟會長Bentao Cui表示,做為家長,他們希望子女得到進入考試學校的公平機會,並享有卓越的教育機會。他說,我們不是輕易做出提起訴訟這決定的,但是為了保護孩子的權利在政府手中不受種族和族裔歧視,我們感到別無選擇。

             該訴訟代表14名申請進入考試學校的6年級華裔,印度裔,以及白人學生,還有他們已加入追求學術優異波士頓家長聯盟的家長們提出的。

             這些家庭住在華埠,布萊頓(Brighton),畢肯丘(Beacon Hill),以及西洛士百利(West Roxbury)等地區,在訟案中,他們說,這幾個地區都會受到郵遞區號的負面影響。

            追求學術優異波士頓家長聯盟已藉GoFundMe網站,從46名捐款人那兒籌得6000多元。他們聘請的律師之一是佛蒙特州RichmondWilliam Hurd。這名律師曾代表一群中學生及他們的家庭控告Fairfax郡的學校人員,以阻止湯姆斯傑弗遜科技高中(Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology)這所菁英學校的入學許可政策的改變。

             民權律師協會(Lawyers for Civil Rights)27日表示,將挑戰這一訟案。該會訴訟主任Oren Sellstrom說,如果這受誤導的訴訟有進展,將代表黑人,拉丁裔,以及其他可能受害者干預這一訴訟。他認為該案從基本上誤會了波士頓公校政策及憲法。

             波士頓公校系統和波士頓市長辦公室都不願就此訴訟置評。

             波士頓學校委員會去年10月無異議通過,因為新冠病毒大流行,考試學校的入學考試暫停一年,改以學校成績,麻州標準測驗分數,以及郵遞區號做為是否有資格入學的依據。

             在學校委員會投票前,波士頓公校總監Brenda Cassellius指派的一個工作小組建議,暫停2021-2022學年的考試要求,改以20%學位完全以學校成績為依據,其餘80%根據學校分數集郵地區號來決定,將撥出最多學位給市內學齡兒童最多的鄰里。

             麻州亞裔教育者協會(Massachusetts Asian American Educators Association)在回答波士頓環球報的提問時表示,波士頓市公校因應疫情,修改考試學校下學年入學許可辦法的做法雖不完美,但可以接受。

             波士頓市的三所考試學校為波士頓拉丁學校(Boston Latin School),波士頓拉丁學院(Boston Latin Academy),以及約翰奧布萊恩數學及科學學校(John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science)

以下為BPCAE新聞稿

BOSTON: Today in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence (BPCAE) filed a lawsuit against the Boston School Committee and Boston Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius seeking immediate injunctive relief to protect the constitutional rights of Asian and Caucasian school children seeking admission to the district’s three exam schools: Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Science and Math (the exam schools).

            The injunctive relief the BPCAE lawsuit seeks would prohibit the School Committee from implementing its new Zip Code Quota admission plan, which apportions a specific number of admission seats to the exam schools to each of Boston’s twenty-nine (29) zip codes.  The BPCAE lawsuit alleges that by apportioning seats in this manner, the Zip Code Quota plan will have the effect of limiting the number of children from certain predominantly Asian and Caucasian zip codes who are admitted to the exam schools for the 2021-2022 school year.

            The lawsuit further alleges that by seeking to apportion admission seats to the exam schools according to zip codes, the School Committee’s purpose and intent is to decrease the number of children from certain racial and ethnic backgrounds from gaining admission to the exam schools, while increasing the number of children who gain admission to the exam schools from other racial and ethnic backgrounds.  Accordingly, the lawsuit alleges that the Zip Code Quota admission plan is unconstitutional because it will violate the rights to equal protection under the law of those children in the disfavored zip codes, rights which are guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Massachusetts’ law.

            The Zip Code Quota admission plan is a stark departure from the admission process traditionally utilized by the exam schools which evaluated student seeking admission purely on scholastic merit and on a citywide basis (i.e., without any admission quotas being guaranteed to specific zip codes or neighborhoods).  The use of the Zip Code Quota admission plan for the fall 2021 admission cycle was recommended by Superintendent Cassellius, and it was approved by Boston’s appointed School Committee at a public meeting on October 21, 2020.

            At this meeting, then School Committee Chair Michael Loconto was recorded on a “hot mic” mocking the names and accents of several Asian parents who were attending the meeting to provide public comments on the Zip Code Quota admission plan. Chair Loconto resigned the next day because of his anti-Asian racist remarks, but not before the anti-Asian Zip Code Quota Admission plan was adopted.

            In the Complaint filed in federal court today, BPCAE lays out how and why the Zip Code Quota admission plan is purposefully used here as a proxy for race and ethnicity.  The Complaint states: “By depriving some school children of educational opportunity based on their race or ethnicity, Defendants do great harm, not only to the children they seek to exclude but also to the Boston Exam Schools, which they would use as the instruments of their discrimination, to the City of Boston, and to this country’s cherished principle of equal protection.”

             As a remedy, the BPCAE requests that the Court enjoin the School Committee from implementing the Zip Code Quota admission plan, and in its place order the School Committee to utilize a citywide, merit-based admission process, which has been in place for the exam schools for at least the past twenty years.

            BPCAE is a group of Boston parents organized as a 501(c)(4) corporation in November 2020 in response to the new Zip Code Quota admission plan.

            “As parents, we want our children to have a fair opportunity to earn admission to the exam schools and enjoy the unsurpassed educational opportunities those schools offer,” said BPCAE spokesperson Ben Cui. “We do not take lightly the decision to file this lawsuit, but we felt we had no other alternative to protect our children’s rights to be free from racial and ethnic discrimination at the hands of the government.  We made every effort to bring our concerns before the City of Boston and to engage with representatives in a dialogue about how our concerns about equity and fairness in this plan could be addressed.  However, our school committee members would not listen to us or engage in any discussion of our concerns, leaving us no option to be heard other than by filing this lawsuit.”

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