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"How New York’s Elite Public Schools Lost Their Black and Hispanic Students"

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Replies to: "How New York’s Elite Public Schools Lost Their Black and Hispanic Students"

  • melvin123melvin123 1526 replies18 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,544 Senior Member
    Regardless, by getting rid of the honors track and gifted programs in the lower and middle schools, you are leaving some talented kids behind. Some parents will be able to supplement but others won’t. We are short changing those kids.
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  • TheodenTheoden 135 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    @zoosermom

    I agree with you that the triumvirate of Stuy, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech are not the best options for all high performing students. They are heavily math and science oriented and known pressure-cookers. In retrospect, I would have gone to Brooklyn Latin or Bard or Beacon in my day if they were options. Instead, I went to Stuyvesant. It was that or Brooklyn Tech, and my JHS teacher's said I should go for Stuyvesant. ;-)

    Regarding Bard's assessment test. Is it graded? Are the results public? I imagine it's one of many criteria and the admissions team exercises it's own discretion. Much like Harvard exercises discretion. I don't think these schools are pure meritocracies (if meritocracy measures grades and standardized test scores). I also gather Bard is much more diverse than many of the SHSAT schools. It's about 39% white, 24% Asian and about 33% African-American and Hispanic. I think very talented African-American and Hispanic kids at Bard, in another era would probably be at Stuy or Brooklyn Tech.

    I agree the diversity of programs are wonderful and very exciting.

    I think there are more options for students these days, which may, indeed, be contributing to the decrease in White, African American and Hispanic presence in the SHS,

    I do think, however, that the DeBlasio and Carranza are unfairly targeting the Asian community just because they found their niche - the SHSAT dependent schools. They aren't targeting Bard, Beacon and the like, even though they are not representative of the overall demographic of NYC public schools and are much more favorable to White students. The optics of the demographics at schools like Bard and Beacon aren't nearly as egregious as what we're seeing at Stuyvesant, Bronx Science or Brooklyn Tech, but, if 15% of the public school population in NYC is white, and some of these public country day schools are over 50% white, and the criteria isn't one objective test, you would think there might be some red flags going up here.

    I'm grateful that schools like Bard and Beacon are providing an excellent education to diverse students. However,

    It's a lot harder for DeBlasio and Carranza to go after the white power base than it is to go after the Asians. And as our Asian friends are pointing out, "Why are you mad at us just because we are passing one objective test and neglecting the interview based schools with much more subjective criteria that are still favoring whites at three times their representation in the population?
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  • kiddiekiddie 3288 replies210 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,498 Senior Member
    When I went to school in NYC in the 70's (HS class of 77), there were a few options as mentioned by @theoden. I was in a program in middle school where you skipped 8th grade but not every middle school had that program - I don't know if it exists anymore. I did take and pass the Hunter admissions test, but there was no way my parents would have let me get on a bus or train to go to high school when there was a perfectly good one walking distance away.

    The catholic school community in the boroughs has completely fallen apart. Many of the elementary schools have closed (even after attempting to re-brand as academies) and very few of the high schools still exist. Xaverian went co-ed to survive and the others from that time - bishop kearney, bishop ford, etc. have all closed.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76523 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,188 Senior Member
    Theoden wrote:
    Regarding Bard's assessment test. Is it graded? Are the results public? I imagine it's one of many criteria and the admissions team exercises it's own discretion. Much like Harvard exercises discretion. I don't think these schools are pure meritocracies (if meritocracy measures grades and standardized test scores).

    Merit can be determined using measures beyond grades and test scores (or whatever other stats relate to the situation), and may be judged holistically. Consider how you determine which of your co-workers at work are better or worse at their jobs, for example.

    However, subjective evaluation of merit can allow biases not relating to personal merit (e.g. the usual kinds of illegal discrimination) to creep in, and can also allow hiding how large of an effect criteria other than personal merit (e.g. legacy in college admissions) makes.
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  • zoosermomzoosermom 25663 replies594 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,257 Senior Member
    Regardless, by getting rid of the honors track and gifted programs in the lower and middle schools
    Well they aren't gotten rid of. They still exist in many schools, even in the poorest schools.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3826 replies285 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    @Theoden, my daughter graduated from Brooklyn Tech in 2014. It was not a pressure cooker like Stuy. It had over 60 percent of students eligible for free/reduced price lunch (Stuy and Bronx Science were in the 40s) and a good portion of the Asian students were South Asian, mostly Bangladeshi, although there were many more Chinese kids. Due to the fact that many kids wind up at Brooklyn Tech because the main channel for admission (not SHSAT) is so screwed up with often random results, Brooklyn Tech has non-tech majors (every student selects a major starting in junior year and they are competitive by grade point average), including Law and Society, Social Science, Finance, and Media.
    https://www.bths.edu/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=222176&type=d
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  • zoosermomzoosermom 25663 replies594 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,257 Senior Member
    Regarding Bard's assessment test. Is it graded? Are the results public?
    It is graded and I'm not sure if the results are made public. I have to admit to being selfish. The year my daughter took it, I was only interested in her results. The test is rigorous, but much more based on general knowledge than the SHSAT exam. The way the process there works is that first you must meet the criteria in order to apply. If you do, then you may register for the exam. If you score above a certain level, you can be interviewed. At any point you may or may not go on. I think it's good that there are different schools with different admissions criteria. There are a lot of kids applying to high school every year and I'm not a giant fan of one-size-fits-all.
    do think, however, that the DeBlasio and Carranza are unfairly targeting the Asian community just because they found their niche - the SHSAT dependent schools. They aren't targeting Bard, Beacon and the like, even though they are not representative of the overall demographic of NYC public schools and are much more favorable to White students.
    I couldn't agree with you more. The Asian families are being targeted because the mayor and chancellor find them to be easy marks, as they have often been targeted in this city.

    While Bard and Beacon, etc. are diverse, they actually have enrolled a lot of wealthy white kids from families who have clout and are happy to use it. It's classic bullying by the mayor and chancellor, they won't take on groups who they expect to fight back.

    My opinion (which I know many others don't share and I respect that), is that the diversity of options and entrance processes is a wonderful thing , that we should be proud of the options available to our kids, and that our elected officials should be bragging about all of these good things.

    I'd like to see more black and Hispanic kids admitted to the SHSAT schools, but only if they truly want to be there. I don't think it's a goal unto itself. In my ideal world, each student would get a placement that is just right for him or her.
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  • EconPopEconPop 67 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    edited June 7
    Nothing will ever change this, those that work the hardest will simply have the highest success rate.

    That is not true. There are too many variables and factors in play to assume laziness or industriousness are the only things that matter.

    It's been shown repeatedly that when provided a rigorous curriculum paired with an appropriate quality of teaching, most children will perform well. The KIPP schools are a good example of that. And obviously, the earlier in the education process the change takes place, the better.

    Naturally gifted and generally hardworking students are no match under a score only admission policy for other gifted students whose culture is built around doing whatever is necessary to get a top score.

    Agreed. It's no knock on the cultures that see a loophole and exploit that loophole, but it's a valid criticism that more needs to be done to provide an equal opportunity to all.


    as our Asian friends are pointing out, "Why are you mad at us just because we are passing one objective test and neglecting the interview based schools with much more subjective criteria that are still favoring whites at three times their representation in the population?
    ...
    regarding public education, Asians have found their niche in test-only schools, and Whites their niche in interview-based and "portfolio based/ well-rounded- profile" schools. African-American and Hispanic students are still, largely, neighborhood-based public schools
    These two quotes go hand-in-hand. Ignoring the "why" and acknowledging the truth that, for whatever the reasons (and they exist,) African-American and Hispanic families don't always see the clear pathway to a better education that Asians and Caucasians see. History has proven, not just in education opportunity but in everything from taxes to buying concert tickets, where a loophole exists it will be exploited. A loophole exists in this system. Many loopholes exist.

    The flaw is that a band-aid quick-fix approach was employed. Instead of providing a quality education to all (or even most) a better solution was provided to only a small percentage of public school students. Instead of saying "we will help only a very small percentage" the situation was presented as "we will help those that DESERVE help by proving their bonafides." And the powers that be got away with that for a long time. American society is accustomed to "The strong survive and thrive. The weak/lazy get what they deserve."

    However, that system was flawed from the beginning, and over time, people were able to exploit the system. Now, instead of fixing the system that was broken from its first implementation, all the sufferers are pitted against each other, claiming flaws in the cultures of the others as the reasons why the system isn't fair. No, that type of argument misses the point. The system is not fair now, because it was never fair to begin with. It was never designed to be fair. It was designed to be a temporary band-aid to quiet the crowd.

    I agree with @melvin123 and others who say: I thought I read in the article that part of the problem was that they got rid of the gifted programs in the middle schools, and they didn't really publicize (or at least didn't chat-up) the test dates and what a great opportunity this is. If no one from your community goes to these schools, how are you going to know what a great opportunity it is, and therefore worth your time preparing for the test? Bring back the lower and middle school gifted programs.

    It's not feasible to recreate the entire public school system immediately. The entire system has never been equitable for all students, and it would have to be rebuilt from the ground up to enable total equality. It is feasible to implement more competent elementary and middle school pockets within each district. The children from those schools will then naturally fill the "chosen" High Schools in a more equitable fashion.
    edited June 7
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  • TheodenTheoden 135 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    edited June 7
    @EconPop So you are suggesting magnet elementary and middle school within each *district* that nurture competent, motivated students which, in turn, become feeder schools for the SHS. Excellent idea. It's more feasible than resurrecting the entire gifted program in each school.

    This is also, in some sense, saying what's obivious - NYC has a terribly segregated, highly unequal public lower education system.

    I don't blame anyone for trying to exploit the loopholes, and yet I'm not terribly optimistic that getting an excellent public education for all in a rapidly gentrifying city with increasing inequality is likely to happen anytime soon.
    edited June 7
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3826 replies285 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    @Theoden there is a testing procedure for gifted students. Students who apply are tested at age 4. Now tell me: what if your 4-year-old is having a bad day on the test date? Too bad, you're out. Plus there is quite a cottage industry for those willing to pay big bucks to prep their little kids for the test.
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  • HannaHanna 14863 replies42 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 14,905 Senior Member
    Chicago has a much smaller, but academically comparable, system of public magnet high schools. But the schools reflect the makeup of the city better because admission takes into account middle school grades and census tracts, not just the test score.

    I don't know any college admissions professional who thinks they could do a better job identifying talent if the only information they had was the test score, and they didn't know students' grades or backgrounds.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3826 replies285 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/learning/testing/gifted-and-talented-testing

    Although students are eligible to test until they are in second grade (for admission to a gifted class in third grade), there are no new seats except those vacated by students who leave the NYC public school system or go to a different school.
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  • EconPopEconPop 67 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    edited June 7
    So you are suggesting magnet elementary and middle school within each *district* that nurture competent, motivated students which, in turn, become feeder schools for the SHS.

    Yes, @Theoden

    However, to clarify, I think nearly every young student can be competent and motivated. KIPP schools prove that by sending 99% of their students to college. If the NYC public school system decides to create elementary and middle schools that provide the same level and quality of education as the honored High Schools, the NYC public school system will ensure fewer students are left out.

    It is an all too obviously unfair system that admits it is not doing enough to educate young students, but promises to reward those poorly educated students with a top-shelf High School education ONLY IF those poorly educated students prove they have somehow overcome the limits of the poor k-8 education they were provided with by the NYC public school system.

    I think a start to improving today's system is to create feeder elementary and middle schools that mirror the quality of the best high schools.


    This is also, in some sense, saying what's obivious - NYC has a terribly segregated, highly unequal public lower education system.

    Yeah. As do many other school systems across America.
    edited June 7
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3826 replies285 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,111 Senior Member
    Charter schools attract parents who are motivated to reach out and find the best for their kid, leaving the rest to the public schools. Also, in NYC they are notorious for not accommodating students with special needs, and pushing out kids they don't want.

    KIPP has 7 elementary schools, 7 middle schools and 1 high school in NYC, which has a million students enrolled.
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  • EconPopEconPop 67 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    edited June 7
    I want to correct myself. My 99% stat was in reference to one specific KIPP school. The national average is 78% of KIPP graduates go on to enroll in college. Still impressive.
    Source: https://www.kipp.org/results/national/#question-4:-are-our-students-climbing-the-mountain-to-and-through-college
    edited June 7
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  • maya54maya54 2052 replies87 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,139 Senior Member
    edited June 7
    “Chicago has a much smaller, but academically comparable, system of public magnet high schools. But the schools reflect the makeup of the city better because admission takes into account middle school grades and census tracts, not just the test score.”

    The main difference really is the income based census tracking. Almost every student taking the test has straight As. Being from an upper income area mean there are schools (Walter Payton for sure) where you must get an almost perfect score ( greater than 99 percent I believe from what my friends dealing with selective enrollment this year tell me that if a kid got more than one wrong this year it knocked you out of contention for Payton) where student In the lowest income track could score about an 80 percent and get in. The issue in NYC is that there are tons of ( Asian) students from low income families just scoring very very high. Chicago’s structure is less likely to work.
    edited June 7
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  • brantlybrantly 3735 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,801 Senior Member
    kiddie wrote:
    I was in a program in middle school where you skipped 8th grade but not every middle school had that program - I don't know if it exists anymore.

    SP. No, I don't think they have it any more. Back in the '60s and '70s it was there to prevent white flight from the city. Everyone in the program loved it, but it was indeed de facto segregation. It wasn't test-based. Pretty much the fifth-grade teachers "identified" students for 2-year and 3-year SP.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3318 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,330 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    Public schools have, for the majority of students, failed in NYC, Chicago, and all of the large cities. Private academies like KIPP show that it isn't the kids, despite the noise put out by the NEA and teachers unions. I think they are beyond redemption and the only solution is a voucher program which would include public and private schools. That would revive Catholic schools as well as charters and privates. I expect that we will see tremendous improvement in the next few decades in cities like Indianapolis, where full vouchers are in effect, while cities that retain monolithic single provider systems will continue to deteriorate.
    edited June 9
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  • TheodenTheoden 135 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    @maya54 I heard that about the magnet schools in Chicago.

    And you're right, the fact that a lot of the Asian students who crack the SHSAT are in the low income bracket, would mean that particular system wouldn't work too well in NYC.

    Some feel that a single objective test is the most meritocratic way of gaining admission to a school. And Asians will point out since they are not ensconced in the white power structures of admissions staff, they have a better shot in test-centric environments where they at least have a clear metric to shoot for and and can focus on things they have control over. The stats in NYC would prove that assumption. The white-dominant public "interview" high-schools, though significantly more diverse than the SHSAT schools (vis as vis African American and Hispanic Students) are still generally majority white, with Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics attending in varying proportions. Again, since the optics in these schools aren't nearly as jarring as the SHSAT, schools, the dept of education isn't gunning for them.



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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76523 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,188 Senior Member
    Theoden wrote:
    And you're right, the fact that a lot of the Asian students who crack the SHSAT are in the low income bracket, would mean that particular system wouldn't work too well in NYC.

    Isn't it the case that (before NYC public schools started giving free lunch to all students) nearly three quarters of NYC public school students were in the free or reduced price lunch category? If so, that suggests that there has been flight of non-F/RP-lunch students to private schools or some such. (The SHSAT schools had lower percentages of F/RP lunch students, but still around half.)
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