Program Aims To Level Playing Field For Testing Into NYC’s Specialty High Schools

Parents spend thousands of dollars, students “study to the test” for years. The most popular ( largest ) SHSAT prep program ( Kahn’s Tutorial ) reportedly charges about $2,500 for an 11-month course.

Michelle Zhang, a freshman at Stuyvesant High School, knows first hand.
“I was in test prep for the SHSAT for three years from when I was in 5th grade to the test,” she said.


Zhang’s parents spent thousands of dollars for her private tutoring, a benefit many students living in majority minority neighborhoods can’t afford.

Is This What We Consider ‘a Good Education’?

This is one of the best “perspective” pieces on the topic yet.

The time has come, I believe, to redefine what it means to be a great public school.


McGraw put it this way: “I don’t know why we’re celebrating a school that’s 97 percent Asian or white as a great school. I don’t know who came up with the idea that that was the definition of a great public school, because I think that a great public school is a school that exposes children to all types of diverse ideas, backgrounds and cultures and pushes them to think critically about the world around them.”

https://opencitymag.aaww.org/shsat-asian-americans-new-york-education/

Attorney Launches ‘DREAMChasers’ Program to Help Underrepresented Students Prepare for SHSAT

The students have been studying with instructors from Khan’s Tutorial. The 11 month course normally costs around $2,500. But these classes, for students from low-income homes, are free—thanks to a program called DREAMChasers. It was created by attorney and Bronx Science alum Jason Clark after visiting his old school and noticing the lack of diversity.

Confirms Kahn Tutorial’s 2019 prices

The SHSAT is “supposed” to be fair, but here students and parents alike are gushing about a $2,500 program.

And sadly very few of Kahn’s Tutorial students will get offers to specialized high schools after spending that much money.…

The Effects – Intended and Not – Of Ending the Specialized High School Test

Our findings also lead us to some larger conclusions about flaws inherent in New York City’s entire system of choice in public high school admissions. Because under this system, there is no simple, direct relationship between an individual applicant’s academic strengths and the caliber of the high school she or he ultimately attends. Myriad other factors intervene, including: exposure to and awareness of the application process and the range of high-quality school options available; quality of middle school counseling; ability or willingness to undertake long inter-borough commutes to school; and others. 

Back to School Reform

The allure of testing lies in its apparent neutrality—its democratic indifference to a student’s background and wealth. But this is not how the current system functions. Success correlates closely to socioeconomic advantages and access to test preparation. Pricey services offer tutoring to ever younger children. (There is a niche industry of consultants who help two-year-olds ace their preschool admissions assessments.) Yet many defenders of testing believe that more subjective forms of evaluation present their own unfairness. 

Outside the neutral language of policy reports, the issue of testing is debated in a context of winners and losers, of model minorities and problematic ones.

The burden on elite high schools: They must change their cultures to welcome students of all backgrounds

Over the course of our meetings, many students lamented the lack of diversity at our schools, specifically with regard to black and Latino students. They shared that the lack of representation at their schools created environments that bred racism and other forms of prejudice both inside and outside the classroom.


This atmosphere does not foster the inclusivity and diversity that all New York City public high schools ought to embody, and inhibits underrepresented students from experiencing their education as equals. While the paucity of black and Latino and Latina students at the specialized schools is certainly reflective of larger, systemic flaws in equitable access to New York’s education system, their absence also prevents white and Asian students at those schools from receiving an education that lives up to the spirit of Brown vs.

Liu: No quick fix to specialized high schools entrance exam

Senator John Liu showed his hand and hinted that he plans to kill any SHSAT reform by languishing the decision in committee over the next few years.

State Sen. John Liu said at City & State’s Education Summit on Thursday that he doesn’t expect any major changes to come out of Albany for at least several years as lawmakers and stakeholders figure out the best way to address racial disparities at the city’s specialized schools. The Queens lawmaker said that he does not yet know the best path forward, adding that he and his colleagues in the state Legislature don’t want to act hastily in response to results from the Specialized High Schools Admission Test.

City Council staffer accused of stoking tensions at protests over DOE’s plans to diversify NYC schools

I’ve seen this man at just about every SHSAT demonstration I’ve attended. He’s definitely one of its most prolific organizers.

The man who’s been the loudest in the raucous movement to oust Richard Carranza is on the payroll of one of the school chancellor’s biggest critics — and more than willing to take one for the team.


Queens activist Charles Vavruska works as a part time education director for City Council Member Robert Holden, and Carranza supporters are calling on the councilman to rein him in.

The WAVE: School Scope – Those SHSAT Tests, Part 1

This opinion piece dates SHSAT test prep to the 1950s. Of course, the entrance exam was not called “SHSAT” back then, and there was one exam per school.

When I was an 8th grade student in the 1957-58 school year at George Gershwin JHS, a jewel of a school recently opened on Linden Blvd in East NY section of Brooklyn, male students were offered an opportunity to take an after school class in prepping for the test for Brooklyn Tech, at the time the only specialized high school that went from 9th-12th grade.

NEW YORK’S SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS NEED MORE STUDENTS LIKE OBRIAN

Obrian was devastated when he found out he didn’t score high enough on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to attend Brooklyn Technical High School, one of New York City’s most selective high schools. Unlike many of the students who gain admission to the city’s specialized high schools, his family didn’t have the resources to spend thousands of dollars on test prep.


His score on the SHSAT put him just below the cutoff mark for Brooklyn Technical High School. But because of the Discovery Program – which allows students from low-income communities who score just below the standardized test cutoff to earn admission to the specialized high schools – Obrian was able to attend a summer program and then start at Brooklyn Tech his freshman year.