14 thoughts on “The Problem with NYC High-School Admissions? It’s not Just the Test

  1. While her piece is thoughtful and informative (as usual), Gail tends to obscure important distinctions between “specialized” and “screened” high schools. For example, notwithstanding the non-transparency of their admissions policies (and indeed maybe because of them), the % of Black & Hispanic children admitted to the two leading Manhattan located city-wide “screened ” schools (viz., Beacon & Bard) is approx 33.3. Thus, while this is admittedly not close to the ‘complexion’ of NYC, the schools are clearly more “diverse” than their Manhattan “specialized” brethren (aside from LaGuardia) BY FAR. Furthermore, her article does not address the diversity of certain successful ‘secondary’ schools (i.e., Grades 6-12) in Queens such as Global and Scholars Academy. Along that line, Townshand Harris (which has approximately FIVE TIMES the percentage of Black & Hispanic students that Stuyvesant does even though the ELA & Math scores of the kids they admit are virtually identical) could have been addressed too.

    Still, her piece does amply demonstrate that there is a HUGE need for better guidance counseling outside of “the nifty fifty”. That’s why the creation of “parent resource centers” championed, for example by the nascent District One diversity plan, is so urgent.

    • Let’s not distort the facts here: Both Beacon and BARD requires a face-to-face INTERVIEW so they know the race of the kid in front of them. One would have to question the make up of these multi-criteria HS if an INTERVIEW wasn’t done ?

      Regarding Townsend Harris – kids getting offers to Townsend usually are the same QUeens kids getting the optional offers to the specialized HS like Stuyvesant. The ending percentage of Blacks/Hispanics at Townsend are the ones who may not want to travel outside Queens (except for York – Queens has virtually no specialized HS seats). That’s the main reason why Townsend would end up with the same virtually identical ELA/MATH as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science.

  2. And the big question that I always ask is that why hasn’t the NY administration and education board not brought the other 400 schools or more up to college prep?

  3. I live near S.I. Tech, one of the specialized high schools. Hundreds of quiet well-behaved kids come and go every day. No neighborhood disruptions, no police cars out front. No cursing shrieking kids. In the afternoon two city buses pull up and the kids quietly file onboard. Compare that to the chaotic daily scene around New Dorp HS, where 11% of the students have been suspended.

  4. This is an excellent article. One relatively small change that would probably make a big difference would be to have a single, uniform application for all public high schools. Six hundred different colleges use a common application, and those colleges are all run by separate entities. In light of that, it’s hard to understand why high schools that are all run by DOE can’t also have a common application. Also, the DOE should set a few more rules about criteria that schools should not be allowed to consider. For instance, no school should be allowed to consider attendance at an open house as a plus since some families can’t attend open houses because parents have to work..

  5. Remember that the Asian kids going to Saturday schools are also disadvantaged and low income like other minority youth in the inner city. Also you can be of any culture and go to those places. When I was working in a Kumon there were kids from all different cultures.

  6. Cox says many of these schools do a better job with their students than other schools. “Our kids are the top performers in their middle schools but almost all of them walk into a rigorous high school” and see other kids are better prepared,” she says.

    This is why all schools should track students. High achieving students would be taught at a faster pace and be prepared once they get to a rigorous high school. Black children in particular suffer from not having a mentally stimulating peer group. More children would be helped with tracking than programs like Breakthough New York.

  7. my family was looking for a form yesterday and discovered an excellent service that has a searchable database . If others have been needing it too , here’s a http://goo.gl/8quF0P

  8. It’s not “choice” when only the top performing students get into good schols. That’s almost as bad as going to your nearby high school. Why can’t there be two tests: one for specialized and over for non specialized? That would make a lot more sense than the crazy process in place.

    • Peter but you just made no sense if it’s a specialized high school it’s there for people with talent and yea they have to do testing to actually get in the school, but why would you say about two test non and specialized there is only one test for specialized high schools and it seems like your saying public schools should have it to but no not true public is for the opening

  9. Even this article is wrong. It is not A+ students going to the specialized high schools. These schools openly state that prior academics don’t matter, attendance doesn’t matter, only the 150 minute test matters. A entire industry has beed created to prep kids for this test, starting as young as second grade!. Totally umreasonable, so why doesn’t the DOE get it right? The same reasom this article doesnt – figure it out!

  10. When my parents were teenagers (1930s) you chose your HS, so my mother and her siblings went to different schools. In my day (1960s)
    you were stuck with your zoned school unless you got into a special school or gamed the system by taking a course (such as a less-popular foreign language) that wasn’t offered at your zoned school. Now we’re back to choice. Everything old is new again.

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