Data on Boston’s Exam Schools


We are in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis affecting all families and students. We applaud the City of Boston and Boston Public Schools (BPS) for their life-saving support for families and students in this crisis.

As the pandemic continues to unfold, we are well aware that urgent matters, including those affecting immediate health, safety, food security, and homelessness are appropriately at the forefront of the district’s ongoing emergency COVID-19 response. 

In light of this crisis, Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) is particularly grateful that BPS made an effort to respond to a public records request concerning admissions to the exam schools that we submitted on behalf of students, parents, and community partners just days before the COVID-19 crisis fully erupted.

The response from BPS, in the middle of this crisis, demonstrates a strong commitment to transparency. We applaud this transparency. We are fully committed to partner with BPS and to work together towards our shared goal of promoting educational equity and access for all children across the City.

At LCR, we believe that records — particularly those containing racial and demographic data — belong in the public domain so that all families and students can have access to information. That’s why we are making available to the public all the data we have received from BPS. The data is available below.

In the data, you will see progress, particularly in the district’s efforts to reduce barriers to applying to exam schools. We also appreciate that exam school invitations increased for Black students applying from BPS (compared to non-BPS) schools. Diversity also improved at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. We applaud all this progress. These are all steps in the right direction, and we commit to supporting BPS as it deepens, expands, and accelerates these outcomes.

In the data, you will see opportunities for improvement and collaboration, particularly with respect to Black student representation at Boston Latin School. We also need to foster greater diversity in the Exam School Initiative (ESI). More neighborhood diversity would also enrich student learning in the exam schools. These are all opportunities for greater intervention and investment. Along with students, parents, and community partners, we will continue to monitor each of these areas closely.

In response to this data, LCR has already been in close communication with BPS leadership, which has been extremely responsive.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. Past experience is an uncertain guide to meeting the challenges of today. In this climate, LCR remains fully committed to our collaborative work with BPS to provide comprehensive and holistic support to all families and students affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Coordination and collaboration are critical and we are grateful for the trust we are building each day with BPS because it benefits families and students across the district.

This is the time to come together — and to join forces — to address the immediate challenges and systemic disparities across our diverse communities.

Data available here: 1, 2-4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10.