Student argument against the SHSAT
Defenders of the current system, hailing the test as establishing a level playing field, argue that if more black and Latino students truly wanted to attend specialized high schools, they could just study harder. I have repeatedly heard my classmates champion this mindset, implying that black and Latino students are not as hardworking, and, even more disturbingly, not as smart as their Asian counterparts.
The SHSAT, however, does not measure work ethic or intelligence, but a student’s ability to answer over 100 tedious multiple choice questions in under three hours.
UFT Michael Mulgrew’s opinion
The United Federation of Teachers has made repeated suggestions for improving the admission process in the “exam” schools, including using multiple measures and prioritizing the highest-level performers from every middle school.
But however that debate turns out, the real focus of the DOE and our local political leaders should be on the academic segregation described in the Parthenon Report, a problem that the education bureaucracy and political leaders have largely ignored.
But to say that these schools should be preserved must not mean that they are a petrified preserve, immune to review and reform. Neither their admissions process nor their curriculum is sacrosanct. Enactment of the bill by the State Senate would be a flagrant violation of educational home rule.