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Letter: Equity and access are issues at top schools

Equity and access are issues at top schools

Donn Esmonde’s recent column made my stomach lurch, my blood boil and my heart break. Apparently, he suffers under the same misconception that many in our community do. No one is asking the schools that have a qualifying exam or audition to lower their standards. What families, students and community members are asking is that all schools open their hearts, their minds and yes, their doors, to all students in this district.

These are equity and access issues. “Dumbing down” is not the request, nor the desire, but rather ensuring all students may exercise their legal right to apply and be accepted on their own merits. Too many schoolhouse doors in this district have been historically slammed in the faces of students whose native language is other than English, whose skin is other than white and whose poverty may impede them.

Why is the automatic assumption that such students could not possibly be bright enough or talented enough to gain admission on their own? The data is so skewed as to be criminal.

Nice of Esmonde to casually mention that his daughters both attended City Honors. I’d love him to meet the mother who was told, “Well, if we let ‘them’ (language minority students) in, there won’t be enough room.” Enough room for what? For the children of the parents who only stay in the district if their kids get into the “good” schools? All of our students deserve to be in good schools!

Decades ago my older daughter, as a fourth-grader perusing magnet school options, was asked if she was going to attend City Honors. Her brains and her talent surely would win her a coveted spot. She emphatically answered, “I’m not going there with the pseudo-intellectuals and racists.” You see, a dear African-American friend had been rejected. Some things never change.

Ann K. Lupo