In the News: How New York’s Elite Public Schools Lost Their Black and Hispanic Students

Link to the New York TimesIn the New York Times, Eliza Shapiro and K.K. Rebecca Lai have a long article about changes in minority student enrollment over time at New York City’s most selective exam schools.

Admission to these schools has long been based on scores on a single standardized test, so the authors consider some possible explanations for why so many fewer students of color are admitted to these schools now compared to 30 or 40 years ago.

They write,

For years, most who took the admissions test had little to no preparation. Today, test prep is a rapidly expanding local industry…

And in a school system that remains severely racially segregated, many black and Hispanic students have been left in struggling middle schools that sometimes do not even notify them that the elite schools exist.

The authors note that there is now debate over whether the city should expand test prep for disadvantaged students or move away from a focus on standardized exams.

Philissa Cramer of Chalkbeat points out that, since the introduction of citywide choice for high school students in New York City and the growth of charter schools, some minority students who might otherwise have seen the city’s top exam schools as the only ticket out of their neighborhood schools now have plenty of other good schools to choose from.

For background on exam schools in general, please read “Exam Schools from the Inside,” by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Jessica Hockett.

In “A Stubborn Excellence Gap,” Hilde Kahn describes how another school system has worked to diversify its most selective public high school.

— Education Next

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