People have been inundated with so much bad news from Washington that there is little expectation of being inspired by current events. As a result, the recent ribbon cutting of the brand new Edward Brooke High School in Mattapan did not generate an appropriate level of enthusiasm.
Ever since the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education established in 1954 that racial segregation in public schools was unlawful, there has been a general belief across the nation that blacks are academically deficient. Those who are polite did not openly infer that blacks are genetically inferior, but many people hold such views. However, the Brooke Schools have successfully rebutted such concepts, and now they have a state of the art high school to continue their winning results.
Last year, 99 percent of the 9th grade students at Brooke High School performed at the highest level of any school in the state on the biology MCAS test. This year, all of the 10th graders scored proficient or higher on all three MCAS tests — English Language Arts (ELA), math and science. Brooke was the only high school in the state to do so.
Brooke’s MCAS rankings were extraordinary. Of the state’s 393 high schools, Brooke ranked 3rd in science, 7th in math, and 10th in ELA MCAS tests. One might think that Brooke has a select student body such as Boston’s touted exam schools, but that is not the case. Admission is by lottery open to all residents of Boston.
The Brooke student body is 93 percent black or Latino, with many children from families that are not solidly middle class. A number of the students (75 percent) are eligible for free or reduced price lunches. The evidence is now clear that Brooke High is successfully preparing black and Latino students for postsecondary education, the requirement for attainment of a professional and executive employment salary at the middle class and upper class income level.
Prior to the establishment of Brooke High in August of 2016, the Brooke K-8 classes have achieved great results. An estimated 86 percent of 8th grade students in 2015 were accepted to selective secondary schools. All of the high school class of 2015 who were Brooke alumni were accepted to 4-year colleges and 96 percent of all students in the Brooke system graduated from high school within five years.
The Edward W. Brooke schools have clearly established an effective pedagogical system. The philosophical debate between public schools vs. charter schools will not change the results. There are few political issues of greater importance to citizens than the future welfare of their children. Voters must now be looking beyond the Nov. 6 Election Day to determine how their children will acquire an adequate education to prepare them for a technologically driven future.
Clearly, the Brooke School has much to teach us.