We realized that both the admissions process and the school system had changed from the time of our attendance. Many of us came to Stuyvesant by way of gifted classes in our neighborhood public schools. Until the 90s, gifted education was decentralized, with accelerated SP (“special progress”) and IGC (“intellectually gifted”) classes in local schools giving academically talented kids in every city neighborhood an opportunity to receive instruction in the above-grade level material they would encounter on the SHSAT. Today, that opportunity is concentrated in just a handful of schools.
Powerful specialized high school alumni have now promised to put MILLIONS into lobbying against replacing the embattled 114 multiple-choice exam as the sole admissions criteria for these schools.
Cosmetics tycoon Ron Lauder is bankrolling a multimillion-dollar effort to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio from eliminating the admissions test to the city’s top high schools, sources told The Post on Monday.
The billionaire Clinique chairman — a 1961 graduate of the Bronx High School of Science— is prepared to spend at least “seven figures” of his personal fortune on TV commercials and other efforts to block de Blasio’s controversial proposal, sources said.
Another attack on NYC’s specialized high school diversity efforts. This is representing attorney Claude M. Millman’s ( Bronx Science ’81 Alumni ) second legal action against the SHSAT reform that I know of.
Previously he represented a coalition of anti-reform protesters in another SHSAT related matter in 2014.
I believe but haven’t confirmed that this filing was done through the state education department’s appeals process: Appeals or Petitions to Commissioner of Education. Maybe SHSAT reform supporters should have been filing petitions all along?…
Verba, it turns out, was a graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York. So is Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. And the Senate minority leader, Charles Schumer. And even a former Republican senator from Minnesota, Norm Coleman.
At least six Nobel laureates also attended the school: Gary Becker and Robert Solow in economics, Arthur Ashkin and Martin Perl in physics, and Baruch Blumberg and Stanley Cohen in medicine.
The secret doesn’t seem to have been any of the obvious factors.
“How is this possible, that people are saying we’re segregated, we’re Jim Crow,” Kim told the Times. “These words are too harsh. It makes me feel like I’m a bad person.”
This is a striking and revelatory assessment of what’s happening. New York City officials admitted long ago to having a segregated public school system, and committed to integration. A 1955 study — conducted the year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education — found that 42 city elementary schools were more than 90 percent black and Puerto Rican, and nine middle schools were more than 85 percent.
“We used to joke that whoever had the most money to spend on test prep would probably go to Stuyvesant.” That was how Ms. Rahman was introduced to the specialized school debate as a young Bangladeshi immigrant living in Brooklyn.
In high school, she came to believe that the admissions process was about money, not merit. Now, she said, “I feel like that system shouldn’t really exist.”
The SHSAT is misperceived as an objective, and “colorblind” tool to measure merit. However, an expansive body of research reveals that school screening policies that do not consider race or socioeconomic status do not reduce, but rather contribute to further “stratification by race and ethnicity across schools and programs.”
In the field of testing, known as psychometrics, a single measure like the SHSAT violates the universally accepted norm and consensus in favor of multiple measures. Having a single-test as the admission policy in no means takes into account the wide range of diverse experiences of all students and their families in New York City.
Below is an open letter to Chancellor Richard A. Carranza from the Stuyvesant High School Black Alumni Diversity Initiative (SHSBADI). SHSBADI was formed in 2010 to address the declining enrollment of Black and Latinx students at Stuyvesant and the city’s other specialized high schools.
The letter below outlines SHSBADI’s recommendations for ways to increase the number of Black and Latinx students at Specialized High Schools along with their thoughts on the pending State Legislation (S7983, A10427 and S8503) to address this issue.
Not all communities view testing in the same light, and aversion to change is natural. Still, SHSAT supporters have yet to persuasively explain away decades of social-science research. Contrary to the belief that scrapping the SHSAT would lower the quality of students, education experts such as Amy Hsin, associate professor of sociology at CUNY, have argued that grades are considered the best predictor of academic performance. “At best, the SHSAT [results] are unproven assessmentsof skills,” she says.
Moreover, unlike the SHSAT, annual statewide exams probe mastery of material actually taught in schools.
As test prep for the SHSAT exam has become more widespread, diversity has plummeted. Schools like Stuyvesant have wound up in highly public cheating scandals. Without greater student-body diversity, schools like Stuyvesant may never be able to curb cheating because it becomes too commonplace; students will continue to do it until they get caught. Students who have taken test prep who may not otherwise meet the criteria for admissions to these elite schools may feel pressure to succeed at all costs.