Will “Specialized” Testing Grant NYC’s Black & Latino Students Access To Better High Schools?


The New York City Education Department and Mayor Bill de Blasio are formulating a plan to help black and Latino students get accepted in New York City’s most prestigious high schools.

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The Specialized High School Admissions Test is the only chance some middle school students have at being accepted into one of the eight specialized high schools in New York City. According to The New York Times, black and Latino students make up to 68 percent of the city’s public school students, but are only 11 percent of the students at these competitive schools.

Changing the test required for admission at these schools will need an act of the State Legislature, but the Bill de Blasio administration will incorporate intensive test preparation courses, free tutoring and after school programs in the hopes to help students get higher scores. The Education Department will also hire approximately five outreach workers to recruit more students from diverse groups, as well as giving the test during the school day at five schools instead of making students travel on weekends.

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“Our specialized high schools need to better reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods and our city while maintaining their high standards, and this strong package of reforms is an important step forward,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Should student admission be solely based on standardized testing? Tell us what you think.