NYC elite high school admits scarcely any Black students, pointing out disparities in process

An uneasy reality has surfaced when it was found out the low number of Black students that were given entry to one of New York's best known specialized high schools

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The acceptance of a paltry number of African American students in one of New York City’s elite high schools has highlighted discrepancies in the acceptance rates for students of color in the city’s best schools.

Stuyvesant High School, one of New York’s most prestigious, only admitted seven Black students out of 895 slots in its freshman class, according to the New York Daily News. That number underscores a drop in the overall numbers admitted to the city’s specialized schools.

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Only 506 Black and Hispanic students got first-round offers from the competitive schools like Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School, a four percent drop from last year, the Daily News reported.

Ironically, Black and Hispanic students make up more than two-thirds of the student body of New York’s public schools.

Meanwhile, New York hyperlocal news website Gothamist reports the acceptance rates for students of color at New York City’s specialized public high schools remained relatively flat in 2019, while those for white students increased.

At Stuyvesant, while the number of Blacks admitted did drop, the number of Latino students accepted rose from 27 to 33 and the number of white students jumped from 151 to 194, Gothamist reported. The number of Asian students declined from 613 to 587.

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Schools chancellor Richard Carranza said the figured reflected bad news for the city’s performance with students of color.

“We’re also once again confronted by an unacceptable status quo at our specialized high schools,” Carranza told Gothamist.

“We need to eliminate the single test for specialized high schools immediately,” he said.

Carranza was referring to a single specialized test that students must take for acceptance into the city’s elite public schools such as Stuyvesant, along with Hunter College High School, Brooklyn Tech and others.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been pushing for the elimination of the Specialized High School Admissions Test because he wants to boost diversity within the city’s school system.

Overall among the specialized schools, which also includes the Bronx Science, 51.1 percent of admission offers this year went to Asian students compared with 51.7 percent in 2018, 4 percent went to Black students compared to 4.1 percent the year before, 6.6 percent went to Latino students as compared to 6.3 percent the year before and 28.5 percent to white students compared with 26.5 percent in 2018, Gothamist reported.

The admissions process for the schools has been the subject of controversy, as organizations representing Asian families have filed a legal challenge to changes made to the admissions process by the city’s Department of Education. Along with students who score the highest on the specialized test, the agency also admits students to the specialized schools who score on the cusp and take part in a summer program called Discovery.

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Chris Kwok, National Director of the Chinese American Citizen Alliance of New York, told Gothamist that the city’s reforms were not working because the number of white students accepted increased from last year.

“The social engineering didn’t work out the way they wanted,” Kwok told the news organization. “They want to turn around and blame the test but the test is not failing in creating excellent schools. These schools are excellent by almost any measure.”