Constitutional Diversity in New York’s Specialized High Schools: The SHSAT, the Discovery Program, and the Fourteenth Amendment

Even if the SHSAT was an educational necessity, it would still violate disparate impact regulations if there was an alternative available that achieved the same objective with a less discriminatory impact. The NAACP LDF found that a multi-measured approach to admissions based on quantitative and qualitative portions of an application would be equal to or more effective than the SHSAT and would have a smaller discriminatory impact. While middle school grades could be a major component of an application, “teacher recommendations, proven leadership skills, a commitment to community service,” and demographic profiles could be used to assess a candidate’s academic and individual capabilities. To supplement a multi-measured approach, the NAACP LDF advocated for changes to the Discovery Program or adoption of a system which reserved seats for top students from middle schools around the City.