Sarah Ford | October 31, 2013

Declining black, Latino admissions to NYC’s specialized schools could be reversed

Admissions to the city’s elite schools could become more broad-based than a single test under Bill de Blasio, according to a report by Community Service Society, which filed a civil rights complaint over the test rule.

The number of black and Latino students at the city’s elite specialized high schools has dropped over the last five years, but the next mayor could start to reverse that trend, a report says.

State law requires Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech to admit students based on the specialized admissions test, which was given over the weekend, but the report argues the law doesn’t cover the five additional schools Mayor Bloomberg pushed to require the exam.

RELATED: DE BLASIO CHALLENGED POLICIES THAT LED TO P-TECH

Admission for those schools — High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College; High School of American Studies at Lehman College; Brooklyn Latin School; Queens High School for Sciences at York College; and Staten Island Technical High School — could change if Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio is elected mayor, the authors of the report released Monday say.

“I think what he’s searching for is how,” said Lazar Treschan, youth policy director for Community Service Society. “We’re trying to offer a real road map for what to do.”

RELATED: BILL DE BLASIO ‘TESTY’ ON NYC ELITE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

The organization and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which released the report’s findings, last fall filed a still-unsettled civil rights complaint over the test rule with the U.S. Department of Education.

Their report documents that elite schools across the country consider at least a student’s middle school grades in addition to an exam for admission.

RELATED: SHORTFALL IN ESSAYS AT ELITE N.Y.C. HIGH SCHOOLS

In the view of City Department of Education officials, applicants for all eight elite schools are legally required to take the special test for admissions.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has supported a program to provide better preparation for the elite exams to kids whose families can’t afford test prep.

Last spring, Stuyvesant admitted just nine black students and 24 Latino students out of a class of more than 800.

“It’s mind-boggling that we’re okay with it as a city,” said Zakiyah Ansari, whose eighth-grade son took the specialized high school exam Sunday. “Children of color in this city have not fared well. We know other states use multiple measures. Why don’t we do that?

Source: NY Daily News

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