Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks the growing racial disparity between students at the city’s specialized high schools is a problem that needs to be addressed, reported The New York Times.
On Tuesday, the Education Department released a report that showed, although 70 percent of New York City’s public school students are black and Hispanic, black students were offered only 5 percent of the seats and Hispanics, 7 percent of the seats, at the city’s specialized high schools.
Asians were offered 53 percent of the seats, compared with 50 percent a year ago; whites were offered 26 percent of seats, compared with 24 percent a year ago.
Three of the most renowned schools– Stuyvesant, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Tech–have a combined enrollment of more than 10,000 students. Stuyvesant has an enrollment of about 3,300.
“These schools are the jewels in the crown for our public school system,” de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday. “This is a city blessed with such diversity. Our schools, especially our particularly exceptional schools, need to reflect that diversity.”
DiBlasio said he planned to address in Albany the testing policy, which has been around since 1971, and which many say is discriminatory.
One high school principal and Bed-Stuy resident, Reginald Richardson, said the testing outcomes were unacceptable but that the mayor is looking at the wrong end of the problem:
“These outcomes tell us that the education that black and Latino kids are receiving in the elementary schools and middle schools in the city is poor, and that they’re not able to be competitive,” said Richardson, a graduate of Brooklyn Tech. “But those same kids are going to have to sit for the SAT’s when it’s time to go to college, and you won’t be able to change the metrics for the SAT’s.
“We need to address the fundamental problem of all kids getting a great education,” Richardson said. “And that’s not happening in the city. And these results of these entrance examinations in the schools are just evidence of it.”
At the press conference De Blasio expressed optimism that a deal with Albany could be forged. He also raised the notion of ensuring that a wider range of students can actually prepare for the specialized admittance tests.