Specialized High School Admissions
February 8th, 2010
Some 958 students received the good news last week that they had been admitted to Stuyvesant High School, considered by many to be the city’s best public high school. Only 7 of those proud students are black.
The figures announced Friday represent a continuing decline in the number of black and Hispanic kids admitted to the city’s academically elite schools. Last year, 12 blacks got into Stuyvesant. Seventeen Hispanic students received admission to Stuyvesant this year, compared to 24 a year ago.
The city uses a test, given in the fall, as the sole means of determining who gets admitted to Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Tech, along with five newer academic high schools. Overall 7 percent of the students admitted to any of the eight schools are black and 8 percent are Hispanic. Asians account for about for 57 percent of those admitted and whites 28 percents.
The number of blacks and Hispanics in the top schools has declined markedly since the 1990s, according to a 2006 analysis by the Times. At Stuyvesant, blacks accounted for 4.4 percent of the students in 1994-95. In 2007-2008, that had fallen to 2 percent. In next year’s first-year class, it seems likely they will account for less than 1 percent.
Figures for blacks and Hispanics at Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech have declined as well.
As these figures have appeared over the past few years, the administration has expressed concern about them but has not conducted any overall review of the test, the admissions policies or the elite schools themselves.
It has introduced more specialized school with some success. “Those schools, which are often referred to as “second tier,” are typically more diverse, but not extraordinarily more so. Of the 178 students offered admission to the school at [The High School for Math, Science and Engineering at] City College, for example, 20 -– or 11 percent -– were black and 15 percent Hispanic,” Jennifer Medina wrote in City Room.
The city runs something called the Specialized High School Institute, which aims to level the playing field. Writing on NYC Public School Parents, Paola de Kock, a former Stuyvesant parent and Parent Association officer there, faulted the city for offering “more test prep rather than more instruction.”
She continued, “There’s little reason to believe test prep will make a real difference for a child who isn’t already adequately prepared in the subjects the test covers.”
Meanwhile, Steve Koss found that boy are far more likely to be admitted to the eight schools than girls — a somewhat surprising result given that in general girl are seen as outperforming boys in schools. Among those admitted to Stuyvesant, Koss reported, 42 percent were female, 58 percent male. Koss compared these numbers to admissions at science oriented high schools in the city, such as NEST and Midwood High School, where girls slightly outnumber boys, although by a far narrower margin.
” There certainly does appear to be a possible male bias in the [specialized high school test] based on these figures,” Koss concluded.By Gail Robinson on February 8, 2010, 11:32 am
In category: Civil Rights, Demographics, Education, Measuring UP | 1 Comment »