A district analysis of the program found that more than 70 percent of students enrolled in the program were white and Asian, even though nearly 80 percent of all Boston public school students are Hispanic and Black.
School Committee member Lorna Rivera said at a January meeting that she was disturbed by the findings, noting that nearly 60 percent of fourth graders in the program at the Ohrenberger school in West Roxbury are white even though most third graders enrolled at the school are Black and Hispanic.
"This is just not acceptable," Rivera said at a recent school committee meeting. "I've never heard these statistics before, and I'm very very disturbed by them."
Brenda Cassellius, the blinkin superintendent of Boston Public Schools, really said this:
"There's been a lot of inequities that have been brought to the light in the pandemic that we have to address. There's a lot of work we have to do in the district to be antiracist and have policies where all of our students have a fair shot at an equitable and excellent education."
Editor's note: We have updated our original article because, while the district is concerned about "racial inequities," according to the AP, initial reports were wrong and the advanced courses are not being canceled:
CLAIM: Administrators at Boston Public Schools are suspending advanced classes for students in fourth through sixth grades because of concerns over racial inequities.
AP'S ASSESSMENT: False. The school district is pausing a testing requirement for advanced classes for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an emailed statement from the district. The advanced courses will continue.
THE FACTS: Social media users this week expressed outrage at the erroneous reports that Boston's public school system would stop offering some advanced classes because the majority of students taking them were white and Asian.
"Boston Public Schools have suspended advanced classes for grades 4-6, citing racial inequities," YouTube personality Joey Saladino wrote. "Smart kids are being punished because of their skin color."
"Boston Schools Suspend Advanced Classes Because They're ‘Too White and Asian,'" read a headline from the right-wing podcast The Dan Bongino Show viewed more than 2 million times on Facebook.
These claims are false, according to the school district, which issued a statement clarifying that its "Advanced Work Class program will continue next school year."
"BPS was unable to administer the exam that is included as part of the program's policy this past fall because most of our students were learning remotely," the district's statement said. "As a result, the Boston School Committee approved a one-year pause of the testing component of the policy."
The false claims began after the Boston public radio station WGBH published a story about the district's decision on Feb. 26. The initial headline of the story read, "Citing Racial Inequities, Boston Public Schools Suspend New Advanced Learning Classes." However, the headline was later changed to clarify that the school district was suspending the city-wide entry process for advanced courses, not blocking schools from continuing the courses in the next school year.
A tweet from WGBH claiming racial inequities led the district to suspend the advanced program circulated widely online on Feb. 28 before the radio station posted a new tweet correcting it.
"CORRECTION: This tweet erroneously stated Boston Public Schools' advanced work program is being suspended. The city is only suspending the entrance exam, not the program," the new tweet read.