Standardized test scores aren’t a good predictor of whether a student will succeed.
No one knows that more than Obrian, an A-student, track star, and activist at Brooklyn Tech.
“The school bus, treasured when it was serving as a tool of segregation, became reviled only when it transformed into a tool of integration,” Nikole Hannah-Jones writes in a news analysis.
The Education Equity Campaign, a pro-test coalition which launched in February to counter the mayor’s plan, hired top firms Tusk Strategies, Bolton St. Johns and Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates to the tune of $80,000 total in May and June, according to the recent bimonthly filings with the state’s ethics watchdog. Those contracts cost them $65,000, according to filings from the previous March and April period.
The campaign also dropped $395,000 in April and March on a media campaign that went through Tusk and included $50,000 for video production, $300,000 for digital advocacy, $30,000 for media advocacy and a $15,000 retainer payment to Bully Pulpit Interactive, a communications agency for brands, causes and candidates.
How does the process work? Four-year-olds take a nationally normed standardized test (actually, two tests, the NNAT and the OLSAT, which are supposed to measure reasoning ability and general intellectual aptitude). No bubble sheets: It’s administered in person by an adult. Those above 90th percentile qualify for district programs. Those above 97th percentile qualify for citywide programs.
Those are the technical qualification thresholds. In practice, you need a 99 to qualify for a citywide school and usually something like a 95 to qualify for a districtwide program, though it depends on the district.
Just because students are intelligent enough to pass a test doesn’t mean they understand people who might be ethnically, racially or culturally different.
That’s what happened to Gordon in his freshman biology class when his lab partner blamed him for the AIDS virus. Or when he was told to “go back to Africa” because he disagreed with some of his peers on the merits of the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT).
And both of us have repeatedly heard something along the lines of, “Black people don’t care about education.”
While these stories may seem shocking or anachronistic, they are not unique among Stuy’s black and Latino students.
Excerpt from an interesting opinion on NYC specialized high schools. Do we need them? Why do we have them?…
The very obvious solution to the specialized high schools’ diversity conundrum is here: get rid of the specialized high schools. They’re an ugly, embarrassing testament to America’s insistence upon inserting hierarchy into all things, including public services for children. What is the point of them? What, exactly, are we trying to accomplish here?
For the New York City Department of Education, the covert purpose of the specialized high schools is to buy the acquiescence of ambitious families in underserved areas: these parents believe that huge swaths of the outer boroughs have no decent facilities for their kids, but the inadequacy of the school in their own neighborhood doesn’t trouble them so much because they’re focused on getting their child into Stuyvesant instead.
A 2014 timeline of SHSAT related events.
2014 – New York City Council Introduces Package of Legislation to Promote Diversity in City Schools
On Wednesday, October 22nd, New York City Council members introduced one bill and two resolutions intended to build momentum around tackling diversity issues in New York City schools. According to recent reports, such as one released by the UCLA Civil Rights Project in March, local schools are among the most segregated in the country. The report states that in 2010, for example, of 32 school districts in New York City, 19 had ten percent or less white students.
They got some relief Wednesday when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat who attended Brooklyn Technical High School, told reporters he isn’t considering a deal to pass that bill in return for other changes, such as boosting gifted programs.
“I think we should be looking to enrich our junior high-school students as we try to put them on the path to whether it’s a specialized high school or not,” Mr. Heastie said after meeting with New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
School Chancellor Harvey B. Scribner announced last night that he would soon appoint a broad‐based committee to examine all the admission policies and procedures of the city’s four specialized academic high schools.
The high schools, all of which require a special entrance examination, are Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Technical and the Nigh School of Music and Art.
The tests, especially those for the three more technical schools, have been the subject of recent criticism that they discriminate culturally against blacks and Puerto Ricans.
A SHSAT research paper published in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering.
Hunter College Gender Equity Project
The use of test scores in school admissions has been a contentious issue for decades. In New York City’s elite public high schools, it has been particularly controversial because of disproportionate representation by ethnicity. Underrepresentation of girls has received less attention. This research compared the predictive validity and gender bias of the admissions criterion, the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), with that of seventh grade GPA, a possible additional criterion.