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NYC Unequal Admission: School Practices Still Being Debated

First Posted: Aug 30, 2014 02:44 PM EDT
SAT Test To Be Revamped

Photo : (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

New York City's diverse population of students can be seen clearly split between all but the top public schools in the region.

While the issue rests in the merit-based admissions, based off of a single standardized test, there have been recent attempts to diversify the admissions system for these schools, according to the Huffington Post.

In June, state legislators introduced a bill that would include factors such as GPA instead of relying only on the specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT).

But members of a newly formed newly formed Coalition of the Specialized High School Alumni Organizations, representing 100,000 alumni of the various schools, is rallying for the system to remain unchanged.

"In my opinion, the test system is purely on the basis of merit. There's no room for discrimination or bias," Larry Cary, president of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation and a member of the Coalition, told The Huffington Post.

Even former Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in 2012 that the system was fair.

"You pass the test, you get the highest score, you get into the school - no matter what your ethnicity, no matter what your economic background is," he said, according to the The New York Times.

But the reality of the situation is that majority of those who pass the test and are offered the seats remain white.

Only 5 percent of seats at the top eight schools were offered to black students and 7 percent to Latinos, according to The New York Times. By comparison, black and Latino students comprise about 70 percent of the public school population city-wide.

The legislation introduced in June is the latest attempt to reform the process over the years.

The Coalition suggested their own fix to the issue of unequal representations of ethnic groups.

"In underrepresented communities, the NYC Department of Education should develop elementary and middle school enrichment/accelerated programs to prepare students for the SHSAT and the rigors of the specialized high schools and to help them become more college ready," the coalition said in a statement on Monday, according to The Huffington Post. "There should be more and better access to information regarding the SHSAT, the admissions process, and unique features of each specialized high school."  

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