On Tuesday, Monique Lin-Luse, Special Counsel in the Education Group talked with NY1 about the dismal admissions figures released from New York City’s Specialized High Schools. The statistics — 7 black students admitted to Stuyvesant and 18 Black students accepted to Bronx Science — show that acute racial disparities in admissions have persisted. Nonetheless, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is pleased that Mayor de Blasio has acknowledged this problem and that Assemblyman Karim Camara is pushing forward legislation to change admissions policies at the high schools.
“Admissions requirements are set in state law for the three oldest, and traditionally most prestigious, specialized high schools, so for Stuyvesant, Bronx Science or Brooklyn Tech, the mayor would have to go to Albany. For five other specialized high schools, however, the mayor can change the test-based admissions process.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education is currently investigating a complaint filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which claims that admission by test score alone is discriminatory because many black and Hispanic students have less access to expensive test prep courses.
“So what you see is that students who are able to afford or access that test prep are able to gain access into the schools,” said Monique Lin-Luse of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
What they’ve suggested, and the mayor has embraced, is a process similar to what most prestigious universities use for admissions. That means seventh graders gearing up for a summer of test prep might need to focus on essays, interviews and their report card grades as well.”
Monique was also interviewed by ChalkBeat (formerly Gotham Schools) about the dismal admissions figures.
“The NAACP Legal Defense Fund also filed a civil rights complaint about the specialized high school admissions process in 2012. Lawyer Monique Lin-Luse, special counsel to the education group at the Legal Defense Fund, said the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is still investigating that claim.
The civil rights complaint is one of three fronts on which the group is fighting to change the admissions policy, Lin-Luse said, including state legislation and lobbying City Hall to change the procedure for the five schools in their control as soon as possible.
“There is a sense of urgency that decisions need to be made so that students can prepare,” Lin-Luse said. “We shouldn’t wait another year.”