Eighth Grade Attends Harvard Admission Trial

Middle School humanities teacher Nick Sirianno reflects on his experience bringing his eight-grade humanities students to Moakley Courthouse to observe the Harvard University Admission trial. Click through to read more!
Wow! Today was excellent! The students were remarkable and represented CFS with character and pride! I wish I was able to bring a camera into the courtroom because the students seemed to change the energy of the room. Seating was very limited but they confidently found a place scattered about here and there. The courtroom was packed but the presence of children, to me, appeared to lighten the tension of the trial. 
 
First, we saw a very technical portion of the case. Experts and witnesses talked extensively about the interpretations of  various admissions graphs and models. All graphs were projected for the audience to see but were somewhat pixelated and difficult to read. Technical jargon and statistical modeling questions about predictions and past admissions data flew way over my head (and I have been studying this case extensively)! The witness, when being examined by SFFA, even mentioned that it had been a long time since they had done this sort of work and was unable to compute the math in their head. Despite the difficulty of the content, there were a few "objections", and these did perk the students up. 
 
After a short recess from 10:45-11:00 am, the case resumed with the examination of Roger Banks, a senior admissions director.  This line of questioning was a bit easier to comprehend as it outlined all of Harvard's programatic efforts to increase diversity over the past 40 years.  
 
Judge Allison Burroughs called a lunch recess at 12:00 pm. We had lunch at one of the tables in the courthouse cafe beneath the wall of windows overlooking the harbor, then made our way back to CFS where a compelling debrief ensued. The students seem to be growing a sense of conviction around this issue and I have enjoyed listening to the many points they are making in the spirit of our testimonies. 
 
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