Part of the reason for this disparity is that many kids don’t find out about specialized high schools and the SHSAT early enough, if at all. “In my middle school, my class didn’t know there was an SHSAT. We were considered the dumb class because we didn’t test well in elementary,” says Angie, currently a senior at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists. She is black and Latina. “However, the higher performing class got to take it as well as the prep they needed.”
But then I talked to my classmates and saw other sides to the issue. For example, one of my friends in middle school got nearly failing grades, but his parents paid for private home tutoring for the SHSAT and he ended up going to Bronx Science. It’s unfair that a lazy and complacent student can ace the test and go to a great school, while a straight-A student who might not have passed the test or even known about it would be denied admission.
When Angie, who wasn’t told about the SHSAT as an 8th grader, took the SAT in high school, she got one of the highest scores in her school. “People said, why didn’t you take the SHSAT? You could have gotten into a specialized a school,” she said. “So I think info needs to be distributed a lot better. Not being told about this opportunity makes me feel like the kids in my class were just expected to fail.”