Students of color admitted to Specialized New York Public Schools failed to Increase
Washington, D.C. – Today, in response to reports that admissions at New York City’s specialized public high schools, failed to include a larger population that reflects the diversity of New York City, Kristen Clarke President and the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued the following statement:
“New York City’s specialized high schools are among the most racially segregated learning institutions in the country. In spite of Mayor de Blasio’s verbal commitment to diversify the city’s competitive high schools, only a handful of underrepresented minority students were offered admission based on their scores on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Opponents who seek continued reliance on standardized tests are out of step with the growing body of evidence that confirms that these tests are infected with racial bias and poor predictors of a student’s academic potential,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Many of the most academically gifted African American and Latino students continue to find themselves excluded from these elite schools. We urge New York and its leaders to take long overdue action to overhaul the admissions process for specialized high schools to ensure that these schools reflect the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the city. New York students deserve an equitable admissions process that accounts for all of the strengths and exceptional qualities that students of color contribute to the learning environment.”
Of the nearly 4,800 talented young people learned this week that they have been admitted to one of New York City’s specialized high schools, only 506 are Black and Hispanic. These eight high schools serve just 6% of the city’s high school students. The most prestigious high schools in New York City are disproportionately Asian, white and male and for the past fifty years admission to those schools has been determined by a standardized test. Last year, Asian-American parents and organizations sued the city alleging that its proposed reforms to expand the diversity of admitted students amounts to racial discrimination.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Derrick Robinson, Lawyers’ Committee, [email protected], 202-662-8317