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A proven solution

Melvin B. Miller | 12/13/2012, 3:33 p.m. | Updated on 7/8/2013, 3:33 p.m.
Results from the annual state-run MCAS tests determine the academic standing of students. Those performing satisfactorily will be ranked in ...
I know school is hard, but like my daddy says, it’s better to work hard now than working even harder as an adult. - Dan Drew - Cartoonist

Civic-minded Bostonians are concerned about the racial disparity in public school academic achievement. Reports continually indicate that blacks and Latinos lag behind the levels attained by white students. While it is not politically correct to assert that blacks are intellectually inferior, that assumption often becomes a subtle subtext in discussions on the subject.

Results from the annual state-run MCAS tests determine the academic standing of students. Those performing satisfactorily will be ranked in the “advanced” or “proficient” categories. While about 76 percent of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) student body is black or Latino, their test results are on average inferior to those of the 13 percent who are white.

Despite the discouraging BPS results, three charter schools have reversed the test standings. All three have a greater than 90 percent black and Latino student body and the overwhelming majority are from low income families. The third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at the Brooke Charter School in Roslindale scored 98, 98 and 93 percent either advanced or proficient on the 2012 MCAS mathematics exam, respectively. This was at least 36 percent higher in each grade than the statewide results.

At Roxbury Preparatory School, 80 percent of eighth-graders scored advanced or proficient in math and 86 percent attained those scores in English. White students in the state scored only 60 percent in math and equaled the 86 percent in English. At the Match School, 10th-graders scored 100 percent in English and math and 98 percent in science at the advanced or proficient level.

Students at three charter schools have closed the racial achievement gap. In fact, they have surged ahead. Clearly, any assumption about genetic racial intellectual inferiority is absurd. It is time to implement charter school strategies in public schools to elevate the academic level.