The group is asking that polices address the disparities the data has revealed.
Quality Education for Every Student (QUEST) is a grassroots organization of parents with children in Boston Public Schools. On April 13, they released a report studying private fundraising and grants in Boston’s 125 district schools. The results demonstrate that there are “vast differences in the private funds of individual schools, which often correlate with their racial demographics,” according to a press release.
The data conveys large gaps between schools’ fundraising efforts and abilities. “The disparities are stark, with a few elementary schools raising hundreds of thousands of dollars more than most others, and one huge outlier, Boston Latin School, with an endowment of over sixty million dollars,” said Travis Marshall, a parent of two BPS elementary students.
Schools with the most money raised per student had fewer students who could be considered economically disadvantaged. Those with higher percentages of Black and Hispanic students had “access to less privately raised funds.” According to Katy Briggs, a teacher at McKay School in East Boston, the inequalities often stem from parents and private partnerships.
“Obviously everyone wants what’s best for their children, but schools with a high concentration of wealthy parents are able to fundraise to fill gaps,” said Briggs. “This lowers the political pressure for the city and state to fully fund schools, because some schools are being fully funded but through private partnerships and fundraising.”
QUEST is asking that Mayor Kim Janey and the Boston School Committee find a solution to the perpetuation of racial and economic inequity through private fundraising in public schools, in order to level the playing field.
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.