Alongside 16 other attorney generals across the nation, California Attorney General Rob Bonta supported the city of Boston’s effort to initiate a “race-neutral” admission policy in an amicus brief filed Monday.
The Boston School Committee voted in 2020 to consider an applicant’s socioeconomic status and drop a standardized test in its admissions process for its three competitive high schools — deemed some of the most prestigious public high schools in the U.S.
Some slots in the school are also reserved for students with the highest grade point average in each zip code.
The hope is to be inclusive to all students in the district, regardless of race or economic background, as rates of acceptance for Black and Latino students are significantly lower than Boston’s overall demographic.
“We can’t allow the legacy of historical discrimination to perpetuate a two-tiered society of the haves and have-nots. Education is the gateway to the American Dream. …”California Attorney General Rob Bonta
But the decision has sparked a debate on the fairness of affirmative action, as well as a lawsuit filed by the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence Corp., a group of 14 parents and children who argued that the admissions policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
A district court ruled in favor of the school committee, and the plaintiff filed for an appeal.
The brief requests the appellate court to uphold the district court ruling, as an adverse ruling could significantly affect other affirmative action policy efforts aimed to eradicate institutionalized discrimination.
“Equitable access to education is critical for the well-being of our students and our communities,” said Bonta in a statement. “We can’t allow the legacy of historical discrimination to perpetuate a two-tiered society of the haves and have-nots. Education is the gateway to the American Dream. I urge the appellate court to uphold Boston’s admissions policy. It’s past time for every child to have a fair shot at getting ahead.”