NYC School Admissions Test Accused of Effective Discrimination

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Certain specialized public high schools in NYC require an admissions test for entry. These schools, among the most elite in the country, are accused of effectively discriminating against black and Latino students via the test, which the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund alleges is responsible for creating a disparity in demographic make-up of schools. The disparity is that black and Latino students are drastically underrepresented percentage-wise in the student bodies of eight schools, especially Stuyvesant High and Bronx Science, in relation to the percentage the racial/ethnic groups make up in the total NYC population. Blacks and Latinos compose over than half of the population of NYC, while in last year’s count at Stuyvesant, only 1.2 percent of students were classified as black, while 2.4 percent were identified as Latino.

These schools are known for putting out a high caliber of graduates, including Nobel laureates, actors, musicians, and well-known alumni including attorney General Eric Holder. While the NYC Department of Education maintains that they are bound by state law to only admit students based on the results of entrance exams, the complaint filed with the Federal Department of Education is geared towards giving all potential students broader opportunities to prepare for the 2.5 hour, multiple choice admissions test. If NYC is found guilty of breaching statutes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the U.S. government can withhold funding from affected schools until the breach is resolved.

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