Dear editor [of the Boston Globe],
I was dismayed by the elitism reflected in "At Boston Latin, little outreach to city’s black, Latino students." The article cites--uncritically!--former Boston Latin School headmaster, Michael Contompasis, who 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?" The Boston Latin School students are not a "meritocracy" and would not be one even if every 6th 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 based on class inequality has in store for them. Additionally, 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 "merit." Michael Contompasis's view is an elitist one and a false one.
April 25, 2016
This letter was published online here and also printed in the real-paper version of the Sunday Globe.
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