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Michael Loconto: ‘I am not an example of “Boston’s race problem” ’

Former Boston School Committee chairperson Michael Loconto in 2018.
Former Boston School Committee chairperson Michael Loconto in 2018.Barry Chin/Globe Staff/file

Joan Vennochi’s June 10 column rightfully shines a light on the troubling issue of race in Boston (“When it comes to race, Boston is a work in progress,” Opinion), but her argument fails to appreciate the differences between the turbulent days of the 1970s and today.

I should know. I spent more than seven years on the Boston School Committee, including three as its chairperson. In that capacity, my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to untangle the legacy of Louise Day Hicks, who ruled in an era when children were beaten and spat upon simply for seeking an education, when the National Guard was called to quell violence in Boston, when every effort to integrate our city and our schools was met with resistance.


Our work has been hard and halting. Yet we have made real progress toward more equitable educational opportunities for our city’s schoolchildren. The work of the exam school admissions task force — and the one-year moratorium on exam-based admissions during the pandemic — is only the most recent example of our work, which has included a 12 percentage point increase in the graduation rate, $400 million in new funding for the Boston Public Schools, and more schools than ever performing at the top tier of the state evaluation system.

I am no contemporary example of “Boston’s race problem.” I am simply a human who made a mistake, recognized my fault, and apologized for my act. I do not deserve mention in the same breath as someone such as Hicks, whose legacy I have worked tirelessly to eradicate.

Michael Loconto

West Roxbury

The writer is the parent of three Boston Public Schools students.