Elite or elitist? Lessons for colleges from selective high schools

An in-depth report on the state of specialized high schools across the nation.

NYC specialized high schools are the only “one-exam-only” admissions in the nation

reformers might do better instead to look to Chicago’s use of area-based geographical tiers. One advantage of this system is that it retains the high-stakes entrance examination but takes inequality into account by having students with similar backgrounds compete against each other rather than pooling students from all backgrounds into one group.

The most radical option is for cities to simply abolish their selective high schools.

IBO: Do a Larger Share of Students Attending the City’s Specialized High Schools Live in Neighborhoods With Higher Median Incomes than Those Attending the City’s Other High Schools?

Students in the specialized high schools came from census tracts where the median household income averaged $62,457 compared with $46,392 for students in other high schools. (All dollar amounts are reported in 2012 dollars).

If we rank the census tracts by their median income and then divide the tracts into equal fifths (quintiles), we observe large differences between the share of students in specialized high schools and other high schools from each quintile.

https://a860-gpp.nyc.gov/handle/gpp/2699

New numbers show just how few minority students get into NYC’s top, specialized high schools

Students from families living in neighborhoods within the South Bronx and central Brooklyn were least likely to attend the famed schools, in a similar pattern to last year, the data show.


An analysis of city Education Department data revealed just seven of roughly 19,875 students from Bronx District 7 landed seats in the elite public schools in 2018.

That’s just .035% of students in the South Bronx district — and the smallest percentage of any of the city’s 32 school districts.

Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Say Scrap Elite School Test

Great news for SHSAT reform advocates:

With support from white, black and Hispanic voters, 57 percent of all New York City voters say other factors should be considered in deciding admission to elite public high schools, while 36 percent say keep the present system which relies on a single test to decide admission. 

Support for the “other factors” option is 50 – 43 percent among white voters, 63 – 29 percent among black voters and 73 – 23 percent among Hispanic voters.