The statistics on the general population of New York City public schools broadcasts the wide diversity the city holds. However, there is a certain sense of segregation setting in amongst typical public schools when compared to elite public schools. While the population of a general public school in New York City is roughly seventy-five percent African American and fourteen percent Asian, the student body attending an exclusive school tells an entirely different story.
An article recently completed by the International Business Times sought to compare and contrast the differing populations across the board in New York City public schools. From this, the article poses several questions in regards to what contributes to this distinction and the stereotypes that tend to emerge as a result.
The population in attendance of elite New York public schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, vastly contrasts the typical school. Here, Asian population is the highest in numbers, with nearly seventy-five percent of the student body being of Asian descent. On the other hand, African Americans, by far the dominant grouping in a typical high school, is nearly non-existent grouping in these elite settings. Brooklyn Technical High School and the Bronx High School of Science, exclusive schools much like Stuyvesant, also have very few African American students.
The persistence of this finding leads experts to attempt to explain the situation. The article assesses some of the blame to reside on the strict standards of admission to the schools. The Specialized High School Admissions Test serves as the only door to admission and is, therefore, required for acceptance to any of the exclusive schools. The article claims that African American students generally lack access to courses that prepare students for the exam. It is also suggested that some families simply can’t afford the test or the tutors other students enjoy the full advantage of.
The statistics support this claim. In 2013, of the twenty eight thousand students who took the Specialized High School Admissions Test, five thousand and seven hundred students were offered admissions. Of the near six thousand accepted students, five three percent were Asian and twenty six percent were White. Hispanic and African Americans both rang in at less than ten percent.
The lack of diversity in the specialized schools has drawn attention. Newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio is bothered by the fact that New York’s trademark multiplicity fails to be adequately represented amongst the brightest schools in the city. De Blasio and several others who see the entry exam as the issue are calling for a revision to the admissions process. Their defense is that the test merely showcases the fact that unequal resources produces unequal results. This has driven a plan of action in motion to submit a revised bill to allow the city to control the admissions process. However, others disagree strongly, believing that the test is a great equalizer that finally allows minorities to succeed and stand out in a way that was previously atypical.
Reginald Richardson, a high school principal in Brooklyn, thinks the results of the Specialized Admissions Test speaks of a far greater travesty than any of the politicians are acknowledging. The lack of positive results for African Americans testifies that the educational processes of inner city schools is abysmal and in dire need of revision. Above all, he believes all students deserve an equal treatment and education.
However, it is not uncommon that certain racial groups are stereotyped against in the pursuit of equality. Richardson’s accusations that African Americans suffer the most in inner city schools, while quite possibly true, displays an inherent bias in regards to the populations of the schools in New York. Along a similar line, many negative points of view have surfaced at the announcement that Asians appear to reign supreme in the upper tier of New York City schools; racial attacks and slurs have not been an uncommon reaction. The accusation that Asian culture is far too strict in regards to school has been held accountable for the success of the students; rarely are their individual merits discussed. This, of course, deeply bothers the Asian students, only serving to put further pressure on them, as they are forced to fight harder to receive the recognition they have earned.