Brooklyn Tech and Brooklyn Latin School, both specialty high schools, tend to enroll slightly higher numbers of black and Latino students than the other six schools, and this year was no exception. Brooklyn Tech made offers to 76 Latino students and 64 black students, out of a total freshman class of 1607, by far the largest of any specialty school.
Mr de Blasio’s efforts to get rid of the test failed in Albany in 2018, but the pandemic intensified pressure on the mayor to take desegregation measures before stepping down at the end of the year .
Late last year, he announced sweeping changes in the way hundreds of academically selective middle and high schools admit students. Standardized test data and scoring information was not available during the pandemic, preventing many schools from sorting students as they usually do.
City Hall controls admissions to all schools in New York City, except for three of the specialty high schools, which are controlled by Albany. Changes in selective college and high school admissions, as well as gifted and talented programs for elementary school students, would do much more to desegregate the school system than eliminate the special school entrance exam, said experts.
But the paltry numbers of black and Latino students in places like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, considered the crown jewels of the system, have become a potent symbol of the obstacles many of the city’s students face trying to access. to top quality schools.
The latest data also clearly shows how ineffective recent efforts to diversify special schools under the current admissions system have been.
Ronald S. Lauder, the billionaire cosmetics heir, launched a multi-million dollar lobbying and advertising campaign in 2019 to thwart the mayor’s desire to eliminate the specialized school exam. As part of that effort, Lauder and his partner in the initiative, former Citigroup chairman Richard D. Parsons, pledged to donate money to test prep companies to better prepare black students and latinos on the exam.
Despite more than $ 750,000 spent on test preparation over the past two years, most of which has been funneled into existing nonprofit programs across town, their plan has not dented the numbers.