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From the NYT op-ed page:

The Truth About New York City’s Elite High Schools
By DAMON HEWITT MARCH 22, 2017

This month, a select group of eighth graders in New York City found out that they were being offered a spot at some of the nation’s best high schools, the eight “specialized” city public high schools that include Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science. About 28,000 students took the multiple-choice test required for admission, and 5,078 did well enough to secure a place.

This system, while it might seem meritocratic, in fact leads to a shocking inequity. Even though black and Latino students make up nearly 70 percent of public high school students in the city, they routinely represent only 10 percent of those offered admission to the specialized high schools. This year the city offered admission to only 524 black and Latino students.

The numbers are even lower at some of the most desired schools, such as Stuyvesant, which has space for nearly 1,000 freshmen and offered admission to only 13 black students. And while some of the specialized schools do have a high percentage of Asian-American students, many low-income students from lesser-represented ethnic communities are also left out.

I don’t know what that last sentence means.

In case, you are wondering, here is the latest data:

So, at Stuyvesant (the famous STEM public high school), 598 Asians were accepted, 204 whites, 67 unknowns, 28 Latinos, 13 blacks, 10 multiracials, and 6 Native Americans.

Back to the NYT oped:

The problem, which has grown worse in recent years, has to do with the way students are selected for these schools. The sole criterion is a student’s score on the multiple-choice admissions test.

The traditional hallmarks of a great student — consistently excellent grades, critical analysis skills, leadership and even performance on other state-mandated tests — are all irrelevant under the admissions policy. The test has many quirks that experts have said make it inappropriate for use as a sole criterion for admission.

Which is why Stuyvesant has collapsed in reputation in the 40+ years it has had an exam-only admission system and that’s why nobody writes op-eds complaining about how their race doesn’t get in enough.

Wait, that has happened, right?

For example, the material on the test is not taught in the city’s middle school classrooms; so it’s not as if students are being assessed on what they have learned in school over the years. It’s all about what they learn in test prep programs.

Perhaps what Hewitt is trying to do with the term “test prep” is to dogwhistle to New York City’s shrinking but still immensely wealthy and influential white community that they should support his demand for a fuzzier, more “holistic” admission system so that their white children will have a better chance of getting admitted to Stuyvesant instead of all these products of the Asian test prep juggernaut.

After all, Harvard U. keeps down the number of Asian students it lets in by keeping the admission process subjective by giving a lot of arbitrary power to admissions staffers to let in People Like Us.

Similarly, Harvard-Westlake, the top academic high school in Los Angeles, was discriminating against high-scoring Asian applicants way back in 1981. That year I had lunch with one of my old high school teachers, a scholar with a Harvard U. doctorate, who had moved on to teach at Harvard-Westlake. And he said Harvard-Westlake didn’t take the high test scores of Asian applicants all that seriously because they didn’t contribute as much to classroom discussions.

Amusingly, when the hit TV show “Mad Men” wrapped up a few years ago, its creator Matthew Weiner gave a series of interviews on the Meaning of It All, much of which seemed to do, in his mind, with the anti-Semitism he had suffered in 1981 as one of the few (in his mind) Jews at Harvard-Westlake. After all these years, Weiner was still angry that a local newspaper in 1981 had mentioned that Jews made up 40% of the student body at Harvard-Westlake. Weiner was convinced that this 40% figure was an anti-Semitic hoax to cover up the rampant anti-Semitism at Harvard-Westlake.

Since then, I’ve wondered if in 1981 I’d pressed my old teacher for more details about admissions and class participation at Harvard-Westlake, perhaps he would have expanded on the topic something like this:

“For example, one of my white students at Harvard prep is Little Matty Weiner. He’s touchy, paranoid, perhaps mad, but what he has to say in class is really interesting. You’ll hear a lot in the future from that little mad man!”

So perhaps Hewitt is trying to signal to New York’s white people to join him in his lawsuit to make Stuyvesant admissions more subjective and arbitrary so their kids would have a better chance. Why pay $175,000 to send your kid to private high school for four years when he could go to Stuyvesant for free … if he could only get in?

But does our society have any vocabulary for blacks like Hewitt to signal to white New York Times readers that they should team up against Asians? Will any white person reading this notice?

Back to the NYT op-ed

This is pure arbitrariness.

Or not arbitrary enough.

The flawed admissions policy, and the discriminatory results it yields, are the subject of a pending civil rights complaint my former colleagues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and I filed with the United States Department of Education on behalf of a coalition of organizations representing black, Latino and Asian students.

Asian students?

Why not white students? White students only get 35% as many acceptances into Stuyvesant as Asian students. Surely that would be prima facie evidence of disparate impact?

But Hewitt seems to lack any framework for making the notion of a black-white alliance against Asian grinds noticeable by all but his most discerning readers.

I see more and more evidence that the Current Year’s prime directive is understood not to be pro-black, but to be anti-white, even if being anti-white objectively works out to be anti-black in effect. Immigration policy is only the most obvious example.

Why is this happening in the largest and most diverse school district in the country? Part of this phenomenon has to do with a powerful narrative that has been woven — not about the test, but about the merit of black and Latino students.

So it’s all Charles Murray’s fault. If only Murray had been punched in the head more, this narrative wouldn’t have reduced black and Latino students’ test scores via Stereotype Threat.

 
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Over the years, I’ve given Michael Bloomberg a hard time. Why? Well, the billionaire New York City mayor who likes to claim that he has “the seventh-largest army in the world” seems like a worthy foe.
One of Bloomberg’s boasts has been that, based on rising test scores, he had fixed the New York City public schools: a few years ago, 82% of NYC students scored proficient or advanced in math!
This braggadocio contributed to his political foes in Albany deciding to toughen the tests, with predictable results. From the NYT:

At their peak, in 2009, 69 percent of city students were deemed proficient in English, and 82 percent in math, under less stringent exams. After concluding the tests had become too easy, the state made them harder to pass in 2010, resulting in score drops statewide. … Last year, … 47 percent of city students passed in English, and 60 percent in math.

This year, New York State revamped the tests even more radically. …

In New York City, 26 percent of students in third through eighth grade passed the state exams in English, and 30 percent passed in math, according to the New York State Education Department.

Kevin Drum points out that on the federal NAEP test, NYC is down slightly relative to the average big city over the last few years.

Statewide, 16 percent of black students and 18 percent of Hispanic students passed English exams, compared with 40 percent of white students and 50 percent of Asians.

There must be something uniquely peculiar about New York since the test score hierarchy turned out to be Asian: white: Hispanic: black. Who has ever seen that ranking before?

The exams were some of the first in the nation to be aligned with a more rigorous set of standards known as Common Core, which emphasize deep analysis and creative problem-solving. …

By the way, does anybody have an informed opinion on Common Core tests, which are currently slated to go into operation in another 44 states?
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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