Today: 16.07.2018
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Don’t mess with the test for the city’s top high schools — fix the real problem.

Forty-five years ago, the Legislature passed the Hecht-Calandra bill requiring admission to Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant and Bronx Science be based solely on an applicant’s ranked score on a highly competitive academic exam called the Specialized High School Admissions Test. Today, five additional schools use the test and all eight of these exceptional, high-performing public schools...
Time: 19:53     Date: 16.05.2018
Last US News - Opinion: Don’t mess with the test for the city’s top high schools — fix the real problem. NY Post 24 - US News

But the specialized high schools have drawn criticism because African-American and Latino students comprise just 10 percent of their student bodies versus 67 percent in the overall school system. The largest cohort are Asian-American, who are from the kind of poor, working-class and immigrant families that have long comprised the student bodies of the specialized schools.

Clearly, this disparity is wholly unacceptable and we have a responsibility to address it. But I’d respectfully submit that critics who suggest repealing Hecht-Calandra and replacing the test with multiple, subjective criteria for admissions are wrong.

Blaming the test for the demographics in these schools ignores that African-Americans and Latinos are underrepresented at high-performing schools not using the test as well.

Asian-American students also constitute near or overwhelming majorities at New York’s three other top-performing schools — Baccalaureate School for Global Education, High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies and Townsend Harris High School, all city schools using multiple criteria.

The plain truth is that over the past 20 years, too many schools serving communities of color have deteriorated. There are entire districts in African-American and Latino communities without any Gifted & Talented programs in elementary grades. A recent report from the Center for New York City Affairs shows 60 percent of African-American parents — the largest percentage of any ethnic group — reject their zoned kindergartens and send their children to better schools. But the system continues to fail a majority of African-American and Latino students. By eighth grade, these students score 25 to 30 percent lower than white and Asian students on standardized tests.

What we do know is that there are high-performing, high-potential students from every community in the city who could succeed on the test and in the specialized schools if they’re identified early enough and nurtured through advanced academic offerings and test preparation.

The Department of Education has expanded outreach — including Specialized High School Fairs this Saturday at the Wingate HS campus in Brooklyn and DeWitt Clinton HS campus in The Bronx — and has begun offering free test prep, but the city can do more.

State Sens. Jamaal T. Bailey (D-Bronx) and Toby Stavisky (D-Queens), both Bronx Science graduates, have proposed a measure that would create a pre-SHSAT in sixth grade to identify those high-potential students and let them identify areas they need to strengthen before the eighth-grade SHSAT.

The Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation, which I head, runs a STEM Pipeline Program (with funding by National Grid, headed by a Tech graduate) that offers enhanced academics and test prep to students from Brooklyn middle schools underrepresented in the specialized schools. While it is a small pilot program, it showed that students from underrepresented middle schools with the right help can succeed on the test and win admission.

And the city could tweak the state-authorized Discovery Program — an alternative admissions system for disadvantaged students who just miss the test-in score — so students can gain admission by successfully attending an intensive summer program in math and language arts to prepare them for the rigors of college-level coursework they’ll face beginning in ninth grade.

The city can also tweak the definition of “disadvantaged” to be more than a mere economic measure to prioritize students from school districts underrepresented in the schools.

The solution isn’t to kill the test. It’s to improve the quality of education offered in African-American and Latino communities from pre-K onward and deliver diverse, high-quality schools for all New York City children. Larry Cary, a Manhattan lawyer, is president of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation.

Opinion

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Opinion

Last US News - Opinion: MLB may be broken, but better not to fix it. NY Post 24 - US News
MLB may be broken, but better not to fix it.
WASHINGTON — It is a prudential axiom: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. This reflects the awareness that things...
Last US News - Opinion: How to take a proud staycation. NY Post 24 - US News
How to take a proud staycation.
Summertime is traditionally a time of movement. People flock to the coasts. Paris is said to empty entirely in August. Your...
Last US News - Opinion: If ridership is down, why are the subways still crowded?. NY Post 24 - US News
If ridership is down, why are the subways still crowded?.
You may not have noticed all the extra seats or elbow room on your local commute, but according to the MTA, bus and subway...
Last US News - Opinion: Scarlett’s white flag will only make outrage mob smell blood. NY Post 24 - US News
Scarlett’s white flag will only make outrage mob smell blood.
“I believe that all artists should be considered equally and fairly.” So said Scarlett Johansson, after withdrawing...
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Hamas’ recent tactic of launching fire kites and balloons over the border from Gaza marks something new: ecological war....

Living

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Take a deep, satisfying breath. Barbara Schmidt can’t. With every breath, she feels as if she is suffocating. About 20...
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Junzi Kitchen, a fast-growing casual restaurant group serving Northern Chinese bings (crepes) and noodle bowls, is opening...
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There’s nada like these empanadas at pop-up eatery.
The South Bronx is flaunting Puerto Rican style with a new hot spot from chef Jason Alicea. Empanology, which is open Thursdays...
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Business

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The city’s subway system is rife with an alarming array of dangerous problems, from broken speedometers to faulty signal...
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Metro

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Sport

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