elite high schools
Letters to the Editor — May 5, 2021
NYC DOE official called parents who support specialized high school tests ‘bigots’
Don’t blame the test for the small number of minorities at elite NYC high schools
Killing the elite-schools exam is just shooting the messenger
On Wednesday, a handful of students — including a couple of Brooklyn Tech kids — demonstrated against the specialized high school entrance exam in front of Stuyvesant HS in Lower Manhattan. Teens Take Charge, the group sponsoring the event, chose Stuyvesant as the venue because it is 70 percent Asian and this year just eight black students did well enough on the test to win entry.
What made this affair sad, besides the low turnout, was that The New York Times and NY1 took the rally seriously — thinking this somehow represents a majority opinion. Democratic politicians also pretend that the existence of elite schools, and the tests required to enter them, is a problem. During Thursday’s mayoral debate, only Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia (a Stuyvesant grad) stood up for the entrance exam.
The problem is not the test. It’s a sign of the larger problem of too many underperforming elementary and middle schools in our city — and the absence of Gifted & Talented classes — in predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
The SHSAT is a color-blind admissions test where neither political influence nor money can buy entrance. For over 80 years, these schools have offered advancement to all through a high-quality, merit-driven education.
Remarkably, many of the same voices decrying the surge in anti-Asian assaults as the product of “systemic racism” also denounce a race-blind exam that happens to lead to elite high schools being predominantly Asian high schools, even suggesting that this, too, is somehow the product of (extremely well-hidden?) racism.
Dropping admission standards for the specialized high schools means sending in students who aren’t prepared for the rigorous workload, which helps no one and robs others of the challenging education they’ve earned. It’s the pursuit of “equity” at the expense of justice and excellence.
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