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Latest Admissions Data Re-Ignites Debate Over Access to Opportunity In NYC’s Specialized High Schools

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Monday, March 18, 2013

The results for the latest round of admissions to New York’s eight Specialized High Schools have been released, and the news is not good for Black and Latino students.  This year's admission numbers represent the continuation of a trend of unfairness and acute racial disparities in admissions that has been going on for years.  Despite the City’s approach of focusing resources on test prep for a small handful of students, it is now apparent that next year there will be even fewer Black and Latino students enrolled in these schools. 

As reflected in the data chart below, only nine of the 963 students offered admission to Stuyvesant are African-American; only 24 are Hispanic.  Overall, only 4% of 5,826 African-American students who sought admission received a placement in any of the Specialized High Schools, and 6.5% of the 5759 Hispanic students received a placement.  The percentage of African-American test-takers offered admission is worse than at any other time in the last five years.  And the percentage for Hispanic students is worse than most of the past few years, as well.

Total offers to African American students and Latino students dropped compared to last year at Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant, both absolute and as a percentage of total offers at those schools. 

NYC Specialized Schools Admission Chart

As LDF’s federal civil rights complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for civil Rights sets forth, New Yorkers will not see a reversal of this trend until the schools' admissions policy changes once and for all.  Meaningful change will not occur under the current system -- the exclusive use of a rank-order score on a single multiple-choice exam.  In order to ensure fairness, this system must be replaced with a multiple measures approach, which allows for a broader definition of merit that reflects students’ hard work, demonstrated knowledge and potential.

Read coverage of the complaint and the latest test results at the following links: