NYC’s High-Stakes Testing for Elite Public Schools Is Not Helping Poor Asians Either

Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant High School

I’ve been writing in support of affirmative action in higher education for a few years now; and, with news that the Students for Fair Admissions lawsuits against Harvard and UNC is ramping up its efforts (last week, the group sent a letter to Ivy League universities demanding that it not destroy student admissions records on the basis that it might someday be used as evidence for SFFA), I’m guessing that my writing might again be developing interest.

But, one controversy I haven’t touched upon yet is education access at the secondary school level. Specifically, I haven’t yet talked about the heated battle over New York City’s high-stakes testing system for its elite public high schools.

This is an oversight on my part, particularly since I was invited last year by filmmaker Curtis Chin (maker of Vincent Who?) to screen segments from his upcoming documentary Tested, which explores the lives of several students hoping to test into the city’s elite public schools, at a time when that high-stakes admissions process is coming under fire for producing schools with racial diversity so abysmal you would think we were back in the pre-Brown v. Board of Education era: last year, Stuyvesant — one of New York City’s specialized high schools — enrolled 7 Black students into a student body of over 3,000. That’s right, seven. That’s not even enough people to build a lacrosse team with.

Continue reading “NYC’s High-Stakes Testing for Elite Public Schools Is Not Helping Poor Asians Either”