How a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Smashed the Gender Divide in American High Schools

The anniversary of de Rivera’s battle comes amid another controversy about diversity at Stuyvesant. The school accepts students based entirely on an entrance exam, and the result is that few black and Latino students are admitted. (Only ten black students were admitted to Stuyvesant’s incoming class last year.) Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed eliminating the test for all of the specialized public schools in the city and offering admission to the top seven per cent of students in each district, insuring more diverse enrollment. Stuyvesant is currently seventy-three per cent Asian, and many Asian-Americans feel that the proposal is an attack on their community. De Rivera is disheartened by the low numbers of black and Latinos at specialized schools, and feels that racism is still built into the educational system, just as sexism was. She points out that Bates has eliminated mandatory reporting of S.A.T. scores from its admissions process. “How do we get those numbers up?” she said. “Taking a percentage of high achievers from each district makes moral sense.”