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Black Student Enrollment in NYC’s Specialized High Schools Declines

Out of 4,800 students admitted for the 2019-2020 school year, only 190 are Black.

Black Student Enrollment in NYC Specialized High Schools Declines
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

The number of Black students admitted to New York City’s specialized high schools has drastically declined in recent years. According to a report by The New York Times published Monday, of the 4,800 students admitted for the 2019-2020 school year, only 190 are Black.

New York City’s Department of Education released a study confirming the devastating statistics.

Seven of the 895 students admitted to Brooklyn’s Stuyvesant High School are Black. Ninety-five Black students were among the 1,825 students offered admission into Brooklyn Technical High School. Staten Island Technical High School offered admission to 304 students, and only one is Black.

Mayor Bill de Blasio discussed shocking statistics.

“These numbers are even more proof that dramatic reform is necessary to open doors of opportunity at specialized high schools,” he told the New York Times.

To gain admission into specialized schools, students must undergo a grueling exam that tests their math and English skills.

De Blasio’s believes discarding entrance exams and offering admission to the top academic performers from every middle school in the city would help increase the dwindling admission rate of Black students.

His plans to change the schools’ admission policies has been met with opposition from alumni groups.

Larry Carry, president of Brooklyn Technical High School’s alumni foundation, told the New York Times the decline in enrollment was more about a general lack of “high quality education” for Black and Hispanic students instead of a flaw in the admissions system.

The mayor also received pushback from Asian-American groups who believe removing the test will negatively impact Asian-American students.

Asian-American students make up a reported 60 pecent of the population in NYC’s specialized high schools. A study found that Asian enrollment would be almost cut in half if de Blasio’s plan were to be put into legislation.

New York State Senator John Liu, who chairs the Senate’s education committee, stressed the importance of consideration for Asian-Americans students. “A desegregation plan can only be effective if the problem is viewed as a whole, and one that is not formulated to the total exclusive of Asian-Americans,” he told The New York Times.

New York City Public Advocate and Brooklyn Tech graduate Jumaane Williams said, “The numbers are abysmal, we knew that. The question is what do we do about it, how do we do it without needlessly pitting communities against each other?”

As the debate over integrating specialized high schools continues, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) raised a very important point in response to the ongoing discussion: “My question is, why isn’t every public school in New York City a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school?” she asked. “Every one should be.”

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