An editorial in the New York Post:
De Blasio’s plan to destroy New York’s top high schools
By Post Editorial Board June 3, 2018 | 7:19pm
Facing a long-known and genuine problem — the tiny percentage of black and Hispanic city public-school students who can pass the race-blind exam for entry into one of the specialized high schools — Mayor de Blasio opted on Saturday mostly for symbolism over substance.
And even the substantial change that he’s making is just redistribution — sending some kids to top schools at the expense of others — when he has a far better option: creating more good high schools to meet the demand.
The central complaint is that black and Hispanic kids make up nearly 70 percent of the public-school population, yet only 10 percent of the student bodies at the eight elite high schools. And girls outnumber boys in the larger system, while boys are a slight majority at the schools. De Blasio also notes that just 21 of the city’s 600 middle schools produced half the kids admitted to the “elite eight.”
One big thing he doesn’t say is exactly how the test is to blame — that is, how it unfairly discriminates.
In fact, the exam is just the messenger, pretty accurately determining which eighth-graders are actually prepared for the tough courses at Stuyvesant HS and the other elite schools. For the reasons so few black and Latino children do well on the test, you need to look elsewhere: to the K-8 schools, and to the level of family and community support for academic excellence.
Nor does he note that the big “winners” under the current system are East and South Asian-American children: Far more than whites, they are “over-represented” at the top schools. They’d inevitably be the big losers under his reforms.
Except that his big idea is a nonstarter, at least for now: He’s calling on the Legislature to eliminate the test, something it’s shown little appetite for to date. With just two weeks left in this year’s session, it’s not going to happen this year. (Is the mayor really just putting the issue on the table now to try to help Democrats win control of the state Senate this fall?)
Then, too, state law compels only the top three schools (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech) to rely on the exam: The mayor and his schools chancellor could kill the use of the test for the five other elite schools, yet that doesn’t seem to be in his plan.
But he does aim to take one big step immediately: expanding the Discovery program to reserve roughly 1,000 seats (a fifth of the total) at these schools for affirmative-action placement.
One reason there are such a microscopic number of blacks at Stuyvesant is because the handful who could ace the test are more likely to accept a $40k per year scholarship to bring diversity to elite private schools like Dalton. You’d be crazy to send your kid to Stuyvesant to hang out with and compete against Asian immigrant grinds if, for the same price, your child could be the Cool Black Friend of the scions of America’s ruling class at a Manhattan prep school that rich white families are desperate to get into.
But of course, we can hardly expect the national media to be aware of this. After all, practically nobody in the high end of the press lives in Manhattan/Brooklyn, and if they do, they never ever talk to their friends about which schools to send their kids too.
I mean, for example, Samantha Bee’s family is completely above such lowly concerns. So the world needs to rely on me to figure out from 3000 miles away what the headlines concerning New York City schools are really about because nobody in New York ever thinks about such things.
Here are Stuyvesant’s demographics, which raise the question: Will whites get quotas too?
|Total Student Population||3,318|
|AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKAN NATIVE||13||0.39%|
|NATIVE HAWAIIAN OR OTHER PACIFIC ISLANDER||35||1.05%|
|English Language Learners (ELL)|
(Total students with IEPs excluding PreK)
|Percent of students with IEPs at this school who:|
|receive Related Services only||6||50%|
|spend less than 20% of the week receiving
Special Education classroom services
|spend between 21 and 59% of the week receiving
Special Education classroom services
|spend >60% of their week in
Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes
|received Self-Contained services >60% of the week||0||0%|
|records in progress||0||0%|