The resegregation of Boston Public Schools is analyzed in the Sunday Boston Globe’s cover story. Highlighted is the return to neighborhood schooling, and the subsequent majority-white student population at the North End’s Eliot K-8 School.

The majority-white schools are emerging in the same neighborhoods that had them prior to court-ordered desegregation. At the Perry K-8 in South Boston, more than 60 percent of students are white, the highest in the system, the Globe review found. The other majority-white schools are the Eliot K-8 in the North End, the Lyndon and Kilmer K-8s in West Roxbury, and the Warren-Prescott K-8 in Charlestown. Collectively, these five schools educate about 1,400 white students, accounting for 18 percent of all Caucasians enrolled in the system. The largest number of white students in any single school in the system, about 1,125, attend Boston Latin School, filling 46 percent of seats there.

According to the Globe’s data, the Eliot school has gone from having over 50% black students in the 1997-1998 school year to nearly 60% white in 2017-2018. The change is largely attributed to the halt in court-mandated busing between Boston neighborhoods.

Eliot students also show high performance on test scores, well above State averages. Notably, higher income parents help fund extra programs to support students.

… of the revamped MCAS test in 2017, 52 percent of students at the Eliot met or exceeded expectations in English and 57 percent did in math, beating state averages in both subjects. At the King K-8 school, where students of color fill nearly all the seats, 8 percent of students met or exceeded expectations in English and 6 percent did in math. Eliot parents also raise tens of thousands of dollars for Italian, music, art, robotics, and other programs. Less than a quarter of Eliot students live in poverty. By contrast, over three-quarters of students at the King school live in households receiving government assistance, making fund-raising more difficult.

15 COMMENTS

  1. This is really angering. BPS manages the lottery that assigns students to different schools. The Eliot has had no say over who attends the school. That said, this situation will need to be fixed. I hope we don’t get another knee jerk, unthought out solution like the school start time changes. BPS needs to solve this problem but actually be family friendly for once. Too much instability and lack of confidence that crazy changes won’t abruptly be forced on families could lead to massive white flight. The school system is really a mess and has been for years. I say this as someone who tried to be involved and tried to do good for the greater Boston student population. BPS is in shambles.

  2. Isn’t it sort of obvious that without busing, the schools would revert to look like the neighborhood? I’m conflicted because kids should be close to their schools, but the disparity in school quality is extreme. The truth is that Boston’s neighborhoods never integrated, so I’m not sure this is the school systems fault.

  3. The busing of students is the fallout from the 1974 crisis. As a result, under court order, students were sent all over in order to desegregate schools. Now in this era, do we need to bus in students simply to justify ‘school desegregation’? We are a white neighborhood. It makes sense that most of the students are white ! The City needs to take a good, long look at the Boston School System, which is of high priority for our youth.

  4. I don’t see the globe giving percentage of white/black students in other boston neighborhoods. i.e. Dorchester, Roxbury, south end, Mattapan, etc.

  5. This article in the Globe was poorly written and a blatant attempt to reignite the racial divisions in Boston. Instead of celebrating the success of schools like the Eliot he focuses only on the racial aspects but offers no solutions. Is the answer to diminish the successful schools like the Eliot? Or should the city strive to make all schools better with smaller class sizes,well paid teachers and adequate supplies?

    • This is a pandering article attempting make sales with this so called investigative report. A 10% difference over a 20 year period is not a super majority. Boston is largely a European immigrated enclave. Since the article doesn’t reflect that actual population demography of the City, it is non-news. Bottom line is the Globe can file bankruptcy again and no one would care. Articles like this will help them reach that goal.

  6. The story should read, Boston schools succeed after bussing mandate ends, all neighborhoods benefit when the neighbors take ownership of the schools in their neighborhoods. My son attended Mason Pilot and we were the only white family that attended there, the school was very good and all the families were very much involved in the success of the school. There are many schools in the commonwealth that are populated predominantly by minorities.
    The reality is that after decades of unreasonable social experiments that affected education and increased racial tension the data seems to show that schools that served their immediate communities succeed.

  7. “Segregation returns”?? If that were the case wouldn’t the Eliot be over 90% white given the neighborhood demographics? This is exactly why I refuse to read that rag.

    What I see in the Eliot is incredibly dedicated leadership, an invested parent base, solid test scores, and a growing enrollment. Maybe if BPS (and the nation at large for that matter) did a better job of keeping educators accountable and developed higher standards for educators, the story would be different. But as Nick says, this is a weak attempt at creating divisiveness for no apparent reason other than a slow news day.

    It never ceases to amaze me how success breeds contempt. Whether it’s public schools, sports teams, or religion (St. Cecelia’s in Boston for example)!

  8. Maybe if BPS did a better job of improving their schools like the Eliot and Warren Prescott then these discussions wouldn’t exist because ALL the students would be doing well. Instead the Globe focuses on segregation instead of the real problem – performance. Shame on the Globe to incite this sort of divisiveness.

      • Not much. A suburban judge figured he would end racism by moving kids all over the city to sit with each other. It took millions of dollars out of the school system for political reasons, not educational. Those who could, fled the city in droves or sent their kids to private schools so they could have the same diversity that judge Garrity enjoyed in his little town. In the end, no body won and everybody lost. Ask any teacher who was around at that time and the schools have steadily declined and strangled by administration costs.

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