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    Admission for Black students at NYC’s specialized high schools ticks up slightly, but remains low

    By Jessica Gould,

    24 days ago

    Black students’ admission to New York City’s prestigious specialized high schools remains persistently low, even as numbers increased slightly, according to new data, and some critics say state and city leaders are not doing enough to combat segregation in the city’s public schools.

    This year, only 10 Black students were admitted to Stuyvesant High School, in an incoming class of 744 students, according to city Department of Education data released Tuesday. That number is similar to recent years.

    Last year, seven Black students were admitted to the school. There were 16 Hispanic students, 127 white students and 496 Asian students and one Native American student admitted to Stuyvesant, according to the data.

    In total, education department officials said it was the highest percentage of Black and Hispanic offers to the vaunted schools, with 4.5% of offers going to Black students – up from 3% last year, and 7.6% of offers going to Hispanic students – up from 6.7% last year.

    Admissions to the city’s specialized schools is based on students’ scores on the Specialized High School Admissions Test, which is enshrined in state law. Proponents of the test have lobbied to keep the law, saying it maintains rigorous programs and sought-after schools. Critics have said they see it as an obstacle to students from poorer communities with less access to test prep.

    Efforts in the Legislature to eliminate the test have failed in recent years.

    New York City’s schools remain among the most segregated in the country, a product of a complex mix of housing segregation, an affordability crisis, school choice policies and screened admissions at some of the top schools. Some critics said Mayor Eric Adams has failed to address a longstanding problem.

    Nyah Berg, executive director of New York Appleseed, said Adams should be leading the fight to reform school admissions policies to boost integration, but has not.

    “I find myself echoing the same sentiments this year as I have in previous years—it's appalling to witness the continuous state of segregation in NYC's specialized high schools,” she said. “Instead of pushing for systemwide change, this administration applauds a mere 1% increase in offers to Black and Latinx students.”

    Appleseed and the NYU Metro Center recently published a report looking at how some of the city’s recent admissions reforms have fizzled under the Adams administration, including the phasing out of Gifted & Talented programs and reinstating selective admissions policies at some middle schools after they had been dropped during the pandemic .

    But Amaris Cockfield, a spokesperson for the mayor, said the administration has made decisions based on what parents, including parents of color, have said they want for their kids.

    “Our administration listens to parents and responds to what they want for their children, and we’ve heard repeatedly that families want access to high-quality educational options in their neighborhood, which is why we have heavily invested in creating more accelerated schools, placing more Gifted & Talented programs in neighborhoods that previously did not have them, and supporting community-driven integration efforts,” she said.

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