Appellee appears to recognize that controlling precedent foreclosed a finding of discriminatory intent, but nevertheless invited the district court to misapply the law in furtherance of its attempt to change the law to prevent schools across the country from removing known barriers to opportunity and adopting race-neutral, research-based reforms to promote equality.
Using past results as a baseline is not only improper, it is woefully misleading. As the district court in Boston Parent correctly noted, when a racial group has been significantly overrepresented in the prior system, “nearly any changes to the admissions process will likely result in some reduction, if only from the law of averages.”
“The system reproduced by the New York City public schools is fundamentally one of caste: an artificial, graded ‘ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups on the basis of,’ in the United States, race,” the suit says.
This system, the complaint says, is accomplished by effectively setting groups apart at an early age and perpetuating those divisions.
“Consequently, the demographics of the City’s G&T programs reflect disparate familial resources, enrolling predominantly white and certain Asian students,” the suit says.
The points made in this article cannot be overstated. The Hecht-Calandra Act may be an unknown, obscure law to many Americans, including New Yorkers. But this law may be the small crack in the armor that allows conservative legal groups to defeat all race-conscious equity schemes.
McAuliffe PTO is just the latest federal case involving Asian American plaintiffs (though funded and orchestrated by conservative legal strategists Edward Blum and the Pacific Legal Foundation) alleging that racial diversity efforts in admissions discriminate against them, and we can expect more such cases to be filed in the future.
Obrian was devastated when he found out he didn’t score high enough on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to attend Brooklyn Technical High School, one of New York City’s most selective high schools. Unlike many of the students who gain admission to the city’s specialized high schools, his family didn’t have the resources to spend thousands of dollars on test prep.
His score on the SHSAT put him just below the cutoff mark for Brooklyn Technical High School. But because of the Discovery Program – which allows students from low-income communities who score just below the standardized test cutoff to earn admission to the specialized high schools – Obrian was able to attend a summer program and then start at Brooklyn Tech his freshman year.
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.
The lawsuit, brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation ostensibly to contest alleged discrimination against Asian American students, targets changes to the city’s expanding Discovery Program. It allows students attending low-income middle schools to receive an offer to one of the city’s elite high schools if they score just below the admissions cut-off on the Specialized High School Admissions Test.
Fortunately, a district judge ruled Feb. 25 that the preliminary injunction the plaintiffs sought to halt the plan was not warranted. But the Pacific Legal Foundation appears prepared to take its case all the way to the U.S.
This week, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative, libertarian-leaning law firm that has a history of challenging affirmative action policies, filed the first lawsuit against his admissions reform proposal, which he announced this summer.
But the suit does not take on the part of Mr. de Blasio’s proposal that has provoked the most controversy: a plan that would entirely eliminate the exam that is currently the sole means of admission into the city’s elite specialized high schools. The mayor wants to replace the test with a system that guarantees seats to top performers at each of the city’s middle schools, which would guarantee that the schools accept many more black and Hispanic students.