In his remarks to the Boston School Committee that were excerpted in the Globe Opinion section (“There’s something wrong with the exam school tests — not with Black and Latinx children,” Oct. 24), Ibram X. Kendi’s reimagining of exam schools as “opportunity schools” is a questionable rhetorical choice. If exam schools are “opportunity schools,” does this leave the open-enrollment schools as “misfortune” schools? This is certainly not what Kendi meant, but this turn of phrase does need to be revised to include all of our city’s schools, not just the most prestigious ones.
In addition, the usage of the term “exam schools” as synonymous with a lack of diversity and bastions of privilege hides the real examples of progress that Boston Latin Academy and the John D. O’Bryant School are. Both schools serve populations that are more reflective of the entire student body of the Boston Public Schools. Boston Latin School does not. Neither the O’Bryant nor Latin Academy has a multimillion-dollar endowment. Boston Latin School does.
As an English teacher (and one who works at Boston Latin Academy), I never understate the importance of precise language. Even the most compelling arguments are made murky by poor word choices. Changing the exam schools’ admission processes for the sake of equity is a sound thesis, but some of the language needs some red ink and comments in the margins from this teacher.