Boston Latin's racial problems reflect US school resegregation
FINDING THE PATTERNS The resignation this week of the principal is the latest twist in a federal investigation of racism at one of America's most prestigious public schools.
BOSTON — When the principal of America’s oldest school announced her surprise resignation, it was a reminder of a problem far bigger than one school – the growing resegregation of American education.
After months of pressure over the institution’s handling of racially charged incidents, Boston Latin School’s (BLS) Lynne Mooney Teta stepped down on Tuesday after nine years at the helm.
The incident that garnered the heaviest media attention and which is currently under investigation by the United States Attorney General’s office, involved a student who was not black threatening to lynch a black female student and using a racial slur.
What followed exacerbated the situation, bringing to the surface deeper issues at the school. The administration didn't inform the girl’s parents. The parents found out much later. Multiple civil-rights groups complained racism was being soft-pedaled at the school. A black student-activist group, BLS Black, made a splash when it released a YouTube video saying some classrooms had racially insensitive dynamics and racial slurs were used in the hallways.
Ms. Teta sent a resignation letter to the school noting her encouragement at the school community’s efforts to combat “racism and discrimination,” but also acknowledging more had to be done. In a more pointed letter to Superintendent Tommy Chang on Wednesday, she expressed frustration at the way the school and its efforts had been “unfairly judged.”
Overblown or not, how Boston Latin, a prestigious public exam school once known for its racial diversity, reached this point in many ways reflects the broader decline of racial diversity across the American school system and the problems that come with it. By 2009-10, some 38 percent of black students attended schools where 90 percent or more of the students were nonwhite, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That's up from 33 percent in 1980-81. The numbers are more dramatic for Latinos: 29 percent then; 43 percent by 2009-10. At Boston Latin's racial problems reflect US school resegregation - CSMonitor.com: