Quota quashed

29th November 1996 at 00:00
In a decision with far-reaching ramifications for racial integration in American schools, the nation's oldest public high school has dropped a policy of using racial quotas for admission.

Boston Latin School eliminated quotas to end a federal lawsuit brought by a 13-year-old white student who was kept out even though she scored higher marks in the entrance examination than 103 black and Hispanic applicants who were admitted (TES, April 26).

The Boston School Committee will consider other ways of maintaining a proportionate number of minorities. But it will no longer automatically reserve 35 per cent of places for them.

The judge overseeing the case had previously indicated that the quota violated the US constitution's guarantee of equal treatment for all citizens and ordered that the white girl be admitted to the school while waiting for the trial to begin. Now she will be allowed to stay.

A task force has proposed a complicated alternative to quotas that would admit about half the exam school hopefuls based on test scores and the other half by their racial group's percentage of the total applicant pool. That has already brought threats of another lawsuit, this time from Asians, who represent only a small percentage of the local population.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today