While it didn’t receive all that much attention outside of the Big Apple, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new education initiative last week which really riled up a lot of people. New York City has eight “specialized” high schools which the top achieving students in middle school can apply to. Only the best are accepted and the specialized (generally STEM-focused) educations they receive put them firmly on the path to admission to a good college. But someone brought a problem to Mayor de Blasio’s attention recently. There aren’t enough black and Hispanic students qualifying to get in.
His solution was to propose setting aside 20% of the seats in the schools for low-income, minority families, even if the students in question didn’t meet the minimum requirements in the city’s Specialized High School Admissions Test. It would eventually lead to getting rid of admissions testing entirely and simply setting aside a certain number of seats for each school district. The idea of scrapping the performance requirement came as a slap in the face to the many families who have spent the extra time coaching their kids, hiring tutors and specifically investing in their child’s ability to excel in the test and be placed in one of these schools.
Now, in yet another example of blue-on-blue verbal abuse this season, the many critics of the plan have been joined by New York’s Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo. He attempted to toss de Blasio a couple of half-hearted compliments but wound up rejecting the admissions criteria change. (New York Post)
Gov. Cuomo on Monday all but dismissed Mayor de Blasio’s plan to get rid of the admissions exam for the city’s eight elite public high schools as a nonstarter.
While saying de Blasio “raises legitimate concerns” about “an important issue,” Cuomo — who dodged saying where he stands on the test for a second day — nevertheless predicted Hizzoner’s proposal would be dead on arrival.
“I don’t know that there’s much of an appetite in Albany now to get into a new bill, a new issue,” he told NY1. “We will only have a few days left in the legislative session.”
Opponents also blasted the introduction late Friday of an Assembly bill that would permit de Blasio to go ahead with his plan to assign most slots to the top 7 percent of students in each middle school, which critics say would exclude many of the city’s smartest kids.
If this is the first you’re hearing of this story I can imagine what you might be thinking. This is a bunch of white parents angry at a bunch of black kids getting seats in these schools without getting the grades to earn them, right? Nope. Actually, the people who are the angriest are in the Asian community. That’s because if you visit any of those eight schools, nearly all you will see are Asian kids. At the largest of the specialized schools, 74% at Stuyvesant, 66% at Bronx Science, 61% at Brooklyn Tech and a whopping 82% at Queens High School for Science at York College are Asian.
And just as an aside, if any of the white parents are angry about that I say tough tuna, folks. Asians make up the smallest percentage of New York City by demographic breakdown and they are dominating the schools because they’re working the hardest. If you want your kid to get in, make them work harder.
But if de Blasio gets away with this and abandons the admissions standards, what’s the point of having the schools to begin with? This is a terrible idea which was cooked up to improve his numbers with black and Hispanic voters and build his national profile as a “woke” leader. The problem is that he’ll just be punishing a different minority community with this stunt, not improving the education system.