Excerpt from an interesting opinion on NYC specialized high schools. Do we need them? Why do we have them?…

The very obvious solution to the specialized high schools’ diversity conundrum is here: get rid of the specialized high schools. They’re an ugly, embarrassing testament to America’s insistence upon inserting hierarchy into all things, including public services for children. What is the point of them? What, exactly, are we trying to accomplish here?

For the New York City Department of Education, the covert purpose of the specialized high schools is to buy the acquiescence of ambitious families in underserved areas: these parents believe that huge swaths of the outer boroughs have no decent facilities for their kids, but the inadequacy of the school in their own neighborhood doesn’t trouble them so much because they’re focused on getting their child into Stuyvesant instead.

Demolish the meritocracy myth: No, the specialized high school exam is not a fair admissions screen; it’s discriminatory

And for others, paid school consultants, tutors and prep courses, some starting as early as kindergarten, give students with means, or those with parents in the know, a leg up. That includes poor Asian families who spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars prepping for the exam.

The same can be said for gifted and talented admissions, where disparities are equally abysmal. Or SAT and ACT results. There is an entire economy set up around test prep for a reason.

America Is Sacrificing Black Education for a False Meritocracy

New York’s segregated schools have become as much a national stain as the Mississippi segregation academies for which Hyde-Smith was shamed in November. Yet because they remain so desirable, and rich with opportunity for those who attend them, their basic premise goes largely unquestioned. As is the guiding principle that sustains them — that in America, a good education is something to be hoarded rather than guaranteed to all children.