art · culture/multiculturalism · education · Hispanics/Latinos · New York · news

Elite NYC Public Schools, Mostly White and Asian

Students leaving Brooklyn Tech last month after taking the morning admissions exam for the eight specialized high schools, considered the city’s best. Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

I grew up in a predominately Dominican neighborhood, Washington Heights, where being smart and doing well on homework and tests was looked down upon as “acting white.”

Given my experience with that culture, it doesn’t surprise me that to see the latest New York Times article that says that a Racial Imbalance Persists at Elite Public Schools. Are the tests themselves causing the imbalance? I did some reading in graduate school on whether or not tests can actually be racist. But according to the article, it sounds more like African-American and Hispanic students aren’t sitting for the tests and the ones that are may not be prepared for it when they do.

Not to tout my own horn, but I took the specialized high school test and turned down admission to Bronx Science High School and Brooklyn Technical High School to attend the High School of Art & Design. Math and science just weren’t my thing. In retrospect, I wish I had made different choices, though I did love my high school, I think the specialized high schools provide more opportunities.

“Ashley Wright, a black 13-year-old who has her eyes on Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant, said many of her black and Hispanic friends were simply not motivated to do well on the test. “I see a lot of people who have an opportunity at a good life, but they mess it up,” she said, her legs shaking in anticipation of the exam.”

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