Even though nearly 70 percent of New York City's public school students are black or Hispanic, very few will be attending the city's most elite public schools when the doors open next week. According to some alumni of these specialized high schools, that doesn't mean their admissions systems are necessarily unfair.
The chance to attend one of the eight exam-based institutions -- like Stuyvesant High School -- depends on the student's score on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). These schools are considered among the city's best, and competition to get in can be fierce.
"In my opinion, the test system is purely on the basis of merit. There's no room for discrimination or bias," Larry Cary, president of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation, told The Huffington Post.
Cary is part of the newly formed Coalition of the Specialized High School Alumni Organizations, which represents over 100,000 graduates of those New York City schools. This week, the group announced that it believes the admissions process based on a single exam should remain unchanged.
According to data from the NYC Department of Education, black and Hispanic students last year made up only 12 percent of incoming ninth-graders offered spots at the exam-based high schools. This year, the numbers are basically the same: The share of black and Hispanic students accepted to the prestigious schools adds up to 11.5 percent.
The New York state legislature established the entrance exam system in the early 1970s for Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School. As more specialized schools opened, they adopted the same system for the most part. (The city has a ninth specialized school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, that chooses its students based on a combination of auditions and academics.)
Over the years, there have been attempts to reform the admissions process to ensure that the benefits of attending the best public high schools reach all communities in the city. Just this June, state legislators introduced a bill that would require the specialized high schools to factor multiple measures, such as GPA, into their admission decisions, as opposed to relying only on the SHSAT.
The Coalition of the Specialized High School Alumni Organizations disagrees with that approach. The group argues instead for a new initiative to give underrepresented communities access to better SHSAT test preparation and for a policy of letting students on the cusp of admittance apply again.
There are bright children of all races. The reason why there are fewer Black and Hispanic students accepted into prestigious schools is mainly because they tend to be stuck going to shitty middle schools which don't prepare them adequately for test taking of this caliber. So instead of fixing the middle schools, DeBlasio wants to dumb down the admissions process. Of course, the graduates of these schools are smarter than DeBlasio.