Red Sox and Celtics wade into Boston exam schools fight

The Red Sox and Celtics have waded into a thorny Boston political issue, signing onto a brief in federal court backing up the city’s plans to place ZIP code quotas on exam school admissions.

The Sox and Celts joined with a lefty progressive organization in filing the brief in the ongoing lawsuit filed by Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence against the Boston Public Schools.

The suit was filed last month after the school committee’s decision in the fall to create an interim plan to include the student’s ZIP code as a factor in admission to the city’s prestigious exam schools.

The coalition’s lawsuit argues the ZIP code quota system serves to “disfavor Asian and White students by decreasing their numbers at the Boston Exam Schools while favoring Latino and African-American students by increasing their numbers.”

The Sox’ and Celts’ brief states there’s an interest in changing the admissions process because the exam schools “have remained largely inaccessible to far too many students, including students of color and students residing in some of Boston’s lowest-income ZIP codes.”

The Sox took a swing at the lawsuit with their own statement in an addendum to the filing, writing, “Without direct access to the quality education delivered at the top three Exam Schools, our community’s Black and Latinx youth will continue to be underrepresented in the places that would best prepare them for competitive opportunities in higher education and the workforce. In addition, over-reliance on a test, for which the majority of students lack extra opportunities and financial resources to prepare and practice, causes these prestigious schools to overlook talented students who would succeed in the classroom, thrive in this environment, and enable the schools themselves to reach their full potential.”

The Sox continued, “Boston’s bright future relies upon the courage to make the changes necessary to reflect and promote the incredible growing diversity of our city. We cannot expect change by continuing to draw from the same well.”

The Celtics passed on adding their own statement.

Amicus briefs — “friend-of-the-court” briefs — are filed by people or organizations that aren’t involved in the lawsuit. They’re meant to urge the court to rule one way or the other. Also signing onto this one are The Anti-Defamation League, The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

Earlier this week, both sides argued their case before a judge, with the parents group seeking a preliminary injunction. The group argued the plan shouldn’t be allowed to go into effect because it’s race-based, while the district insisted it’s race-neutral. The judge said he’d make a ruling in the coming days.

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