The Mayor has shifted blame to state lawmakers. But he can take action now if he wants to.

If the DOE wants to get rid of the test, it can, at least for the majority of specialized schools. At five of eight specialized high schools, the City has the sole authority to end the use of the test for enrollment.

In its place, the City could develop a more equitable model of assigning children to excellent schools—holistic assessments of their capabilities and potential—or they could drop academic tracking altogether, and ensure that every high school class has a diverse blend of needs and talents.

NEW YORK’S SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS NEED MORE STUDENTS LIKE OBRIAN

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.

NYCLU: Paving the Way

Standardized test scores aren’t a good predictor of whether a student will succeed.

No one knows that more than Obrian, an A-student, track star, and activist at Brooklyn Tech.

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