As critical conversations are taking place in our city about how we can ensure that students from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds have the preparation and access to pursue the opportunity of Boston's exam schools, I'd like to briefly address an opinion piece that appeared in Sunday's Boston Globe magazine asserting that the city's educational landscape would be improved if the exam schools were eliminated. While I typically do not respond to media criticism of BLS, I feel compelled to do so in this case.
I am dismayed by the suggestion that the dismantling of three schools - all recognized for multiple years in a row as among the top public secondary schools in the state - would achieve positive outcomes for the students and families of Boston. One of the reasons the writer gives to support this claim is a study that suggested exam school education has no impact on the students who attend. As someone whose own life trajectory was changed due to the opportunities that Boston Latin School afforded me and my family, and as someone who has engaged with thousands of BLS students and alumni, many with stories like mine, I find this statement to be patently false. I attended Boston Public Schools as the child of a single parent who would not have access to a similar college preparatory experience were there not public exam school options in Boston. My mother immigrated to the U.S. when she was in middle school; she did not attend college, and had neither the income nor the knowledge of the educational landscape to explore other school options for me. Fortunately, she did not have to. Boston Latin School ensured that I was prepared to excel in college and exposed me to experiences in leadership and the arts that have shaped my professional and personal passions.
Our faculty and staff, with support of the Boston Latin School Association, continue to work incredibly hard to facilitate academic and extra-curricular opportunities that propel today's students forward not only toward successful college study, but also toward meaningful and rewarding lives, the impacts of which cannot solely be measured during the short years of high school.
All of Boston's students, whether or not they attend an exam school, should be prepared for post-secondary success, yet this is currently not the case. This is an issue that should be of great concern to all of us. However, closing schools that graduate college-ready students is not the solution. Surely BLS requires reflection, improvement, and evolution to meet the needs of every one of our scholars, and I commit to continued transparency about where we struggle and where we shine. All of us receiving this email - as families, students, and staff - have chosen to be a part of the BLS journey. As a proud alumna, I am humbled by the opportunity to lead our school community and am inspired daily by your strength and commitment.
As always, we wish you and your loved ones good health and positive spirits.
Rachel Skerritt ‘95
Head of School