But calls for changes in the admissions criteria for these schools will punish lower-middle-class Asian immigrants and Asian Americans, writes Dennis Saffran for the New York Post.
In March, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and School Chancellor Carmen Fariña proposed plans to change admissions policies for the city’s elite public schools. Chief among the reasons to revamp the admissions process, which is based solely on test scores, is to diversify the schools and combat the declining enrollment of black and Latino students.
The eight schools in question comprise of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School and five other schools that require prospective students to submit scores from the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, or SHSAT.
Almost 75 percent of Stuyvesant’s student body is Asian American. Blacks and Latinos respectively make up 1 percent and 2 percent of the school’s student body.
Critics of the current admissions process would replace the SHSAT with a more subjective approach that would consider not just grades and test scores, but factors like extracurricular activities, interviews, and teacher recommendations.
But Saffran says the students who would benefit the most from these changes would be affluent whites, not the black and Latino students de Blasio would hope to net in, “while opening the door to discrimination against Asian kids.”
Since immigration restrictions against Asians were lifted in 1965, New York City’s Asian population has increased from below 1 percent to around 13 percent today. Asian Americans are the city’s fastest-growing racial minority group, and have the second highest median household income in New York City after whites.
But Saffran points out that Asians also have the highest poverty rate of any racial group in New York, at 29 percent. According to Saffran, many of the Asian students at schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science come from such backgrounds, gaining entrance into these schools through their own merit and hard work.
You can read more about the proposed changes and what Saffran has to say about them at the New York Post.
For an opposing view, read NY Assemblyman Ron Kim steps into political minefield.