Long into the night on Wednesday, parents and students waited in line to say their piece about Boston Latin School and who deserves to attend it.
Shirley Chang Wen said she arrived in this country without speaking English, and believed in raising children to work hard and succeed. Why, she asked, shouldn’t they get a spot?
Julia Mejia, a Latina city councilor, said she spent her school years working at a shoe store to help her mother pay the rent, without a spare minute for test preparation. What about students like her?
And Gabby Finocchio, a 2019 graduate who is white, said she was admitted to the school because her parents had time and money to spend on the process. In a more equitable admissions system, she might not get in, she said, but “I’m OK with that.”
After five and a half hours of emotional discussion on Wednesday night, the Boston School Committee voted unanimously to overhaul admissions to the city’s three selective exam schools, opening the way for far greater representation of Black and Latino students.
The new admissions system will still weigh test results and grades, but, following a model pioneered in Chicago, it will also introduce ways to select applicants who come from poor and disadvantaged neighborhoods.