BOSTON SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT PLAN REKINDLES CONTROVERSY
The Boston School Committee has adopted a new student assignment plan, but blacks say they will fight it because it amounts to resegregation of the city's public schools. The nine whites on the committee voted for the plan earlier this week. The four blacks voted against it.
Opponents charge the plan may resegregate schools. Supporters say it is a step in the right direction and resegregation is not an issue because less than 25 percent of the system's 55,000 students are white.
A federal judge ordered Boston's public schools desegregated in 1974, resulting in many students being bused to schools outside their neighborhoods to achieve racial balance, and spurring violent protests by whites.
That system has remained in effect. The only option available to students is to apply for limited places in citywide magnet schools.
Under the newly adopted plan, the city will be divided into three zones. Parents will be given a choice of schools within the zone in which they live. They will get their choice unless it causes overcrowding of the school or disrupts its racial balance.
The plan calls for all schools to reflect the racial percentages of students in the zone.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the main plaintiff in the 1974 desegregation case, says the plan does not improve schools because it does not guarantee to upgrade quality.
Louis Elisa, vice-president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, calls the new assignment plan a farce.
The plan is scheduled to become effective in September for students entering kindergarten through grade 6, and the following September for other students.