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October 22, 2020

Pressley Statement on Boston School Committee Vote on Admissions Tests for City’s Exam Schools

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the Boston School Committee’s vote to temporarily suspend admissions tests for the city’s exam schools.

“In this moment of national reckoning on systemic racism and racial injustice, we must continue to be unapologetic in our efforts to examine and address the ways in which our institutions contribute to and exacerbate our gravest inequities and disparities—our education system is no exception.

“For too long, many of our most entrenched inequities have been fueled by an education system that continues to limit opportunity based on a child’s privilege and access to resources. Here in Boston, these inequities are made clear by the barriers faced by many Black, brown, immigrant and non-English speaking families in accessing our city’s most prestigious exam schools. Like so many aspects of our society, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequities and revealed the need to radically shift course, abandon the status quo and finally fulfill our promise to ensure equal opportunity to every child in our city.

“I applaud the Boston School Committee for taking a step towards equity and racial justice in our education system by temporarily suspending the admissions test for our exam schools and opting for a more holistic admissions criteria that will help level the playing field for so many of our students that have historically been left behind. While this is a notable move, we must continue to push for permanent reforms that will truly ensure equity for all students, informed by a robust and continued community engagement process to center the voices of students and families.

“As we all know, progress is never easy. We witnessed this firsthand during the School Committee meeting last night, where Chair Loconto felt free to denigrate and disrespect students and families based on their names and ethnicity. I applaud the families, advocates, and local elected officials who held Mr. Loconto to account for the pain he caused, and I will continue to advocate for equity in opportunity for every family in Boston.

“I encourage local leaders to continue to work together towards a permanent plan to further expand educational opportunity for all Boston Public Schools students.”

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