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‘You can’t question a meritocracy’? Oh, yes you can

I was dismayed by the elitism reflected in the article about Boston Latin School (“A school apart”). The former Boston Latin School headmaster, Michael Contompasis, says, “You can’t question a meritocracy. What you can question is, does every kid have a fair shake in the district to sit for the exam and hopefully gain admission to an exam school if they choose to go?”

Boston Latin School students are not a “meritocracy,” and would not be one even if every sixth-grade Boston school student did have a “fair shake” to sit for its exam.

It is well known that these exam scores correlate with family income. Furthermore, students who believe that getting high grades in school will lead to a better life get higher grades and exam scores than those who are cynical about what our society has in store for them, based on class inequality.

In addition, students who wish to demonstrate that they are smarter than their peers get higher marks and scores than those who, in contrast, value relations of solidarity with their peers. The difference between these kinds of students has nothing to do with their so-called merit.


John Spritzler