It appears one of the most successful educational programs ever in Greater New Bedford, perhaps in all of Massachusetts, is about to be destroyed by foolish, woke politicians.

Education Commissioner Jeff Riley is recommending changes to the admission policy for the state's 37 vocational and technical high schools, including Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Advocates for change support a lottery system to determine which students are selected to fill the scant number of vacancies that open up each year at the schools. They say the current policy that rewards good behavior, attendance, and grades is unfair to students of color, poor students, and those with disabilities.

Hogwash! That logic assumes that students of color, poor students, and those with disabilities cannot succeed on their own merits and require government assistance to be successful. How insulting is that?

Riley's recommendations eliminate "the requirement to use four criteria (grades, attendance, discipline record, and counselor recommendation) and prohibits the consideration of excused absences and minor behavior or disciplinary infractions," from the admissions policy, but stop short of calling for a lottery system.

His recommendations will be presented to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Tuesday which will accept public comment before voting on them sometime in June.

Here is something else that ought to trouble you: not one member of the board represents our region of the Commonwealth. Of the 11 board members, two are from Brookline, two from Boston, two from Newton, and one each from Billerica, Belmont, Milton, Lexington, Holyoke, and Newton. Now how is that for a cross-section of representation?

If you, like me, believe these recommended changes to the admission policy will have a detrimental impact on schools like Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech, notify the board immediately. You can do so by writing to:

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148

And while you are at it, demand greater diversity on the board.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Leave Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech alone.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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