Stuyvesant High School

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Politicians, Students Rally At City Hall To Scrap Specialized High School Exam

March 21, 2019 - 3:43 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The fight to scrap the high-stakes admissions exam for the city’s elite high schools continued to generate support Thursday.

According to the latest figures, black and Latino students make up about 70 percent of the student population in the city, but make up just about 10 percent of the student body at the city's eight elite high schools.

At Stuyvesant High School, the most selective in the city, there were 895 slots available this year and only seven African-American students got in.

The lack of diversity immediately sparked outrage throughout the city and many blamed the single, high-stakes exam that determines who is granted a spot.

Though, others say the schools are simply biased when it comes to admissions.

“Don’t tell me that there’s only seven black students smart enough to get into Stuyvesant High School,” said Assemblyman Charles Barron.

Politicians and students came together at City Hall on Thursday to support a bill that would scrap the exam in favor of a new process that would admit the top seven percent of students.

“You too often see a different future for another young child just because of what happens in a few hours,” said bill supporter and Assemblyman Michael Blake.

Former students from Brooklyn Tech also joined the call with one saying, “you cannot test out racism.”

“We reproduce this bias everyday by insisting that high performing black and Latino students don't work hard or aren't smart enough or don't deserve, for some reason, to attend specialized high schools,” said Alana Mohamed, a graduate of Brooklyn Tech.

Still, many Asian-American families have strongly opposed scrapping the exam since Asians make up more than 50 percent of the student body in the city’s elite high schools.

They believe doing away with the exam would hurt Asian students in the long-term.