New York’s specialized high schools are offered to leading students based on eighth grade exams. Of the more than 5,000 students accepted, only 11 percent are Black or Hispanic despite population figures that top 70 percent of all students, according to report in The Huffington Post.
The overwhelmingly disproportionate numbers were similar to last year. But in certain schools the numbers actually dropped from a year ago.
“For example, of the 952 students admitted to the highly competitive Stuyvesant High School this year, only 7 students are black and 21 are Hispanic, data show. Last year, nine black students and 24 Hispanic students were accepted to Stuyvesant,” Huff Po reported.
Entrance to New York City’s specialized schools is based on a single entrance exam, with the exception of one arts school that requires an audition. The low minority enrollment figures that result from this exam has caused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to argue for a new entrance system.
“These schools are the jewels in the crown for our public school system,” de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday. “This is a city blessed with such diversity. Our schools, especially our particularly exceptional schools, need to reflect that diversity.”
Any major policy changes to the magnet school system have to be approved by the state legislature.
De Blasio’s predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, maintained the system was fair when he was in office.
“I think that Stuyvesant and these other schools are as fair as fair can be,” Bloomberg said, according to a 2012 New York Times article. “There’s nothing subjective about this. You pass the test, you get the highest score, you get into the school — no matter what your ethnicity, no matter what your economic background is.”