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    indigo Offline OP
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    De Blasio wants to scrap admissions testing for elite high schools
    by Selim Algar
    New York Post
    June 2, 2018

    Backstory: In a Policy Brief dated March 2015 and titled Pathways to an Elite Education: Exploring Strategies to Diversify NYC’s Specialized High Schools, data analyzed from 2004-2005 and 2012-2013 showed that "nearly a third of New York City’s 8th graders opted to take the SHSAT. Approximately 19 percent of those who did scored high enough to receive an offer of admission to a specialized high school. And, of those offered admission, 72 percent accepted the offer."
    This 14-page Policy Brief report is well worth reading, as it includes the results of simulations of various admissions rule models which have been proposed as policy changes.
    Among our key findings:

    - Offers based on state test scores, grades, and attendance would increase the share of Latino and White students in specialized high schools, and reduce the share of Asian students (who would remain significantly over-represented).

    - These rule changes would not appreciably increase the proportion of Black students admitted, and, alarmingly, several of these alternative criteria would actually decrease the number of Black students offered a specialized school seat.

    - A simulated rule based on test scores and grades that also enforces proportional representation by borough would moderately increase the share of Black students.

    - All simulated admissions rules based on state test scores, grades, and attendance instead of the SHSAT would tip the gender balance in specialized high schools in favor of girls.

    - A little over half of the students who would receive offers under these simulated rules were actually admitted based on their SHSAT score, suggesting that there is considerable overlap in students who would be admitted under different criteria.

    - Admissions rules that rely on test scores, grades, and attendance would not significantly reduce the concentration of offers in a small number of middle schools. This largely reflects the uneven distribution of high-achieving students across schools...

    - The only simulated admissions rule that would substantially change the demographic mix of the specialized high schools and reduce the concentration of offers in a small number of middle schools is a rule that guarantees admission to all students across the City who are in the top 10 percent of their middle school.

    This rule would have a large impact on diversity, but at the cost of reducing the average achievement of incoming students, particularly in math. Under this rule, the average math achievement of admitted students would be about 0.12 standard deviations (or 7.2 percent) lower, a potential concern for the math- and science-oriented specialized schools.
    This Policy Brief report was issued while Carmen Farina was Chancellor of NYC Public Schools. She was recently replaced with Richard Carranza, former superintendent of Houston, TX public schools for 18 months; prior to that Carranza was superintendent in San Francisco. He has been no stranger to controversy.

    Unfortunately, the current article summarizing the proposals of Carranza and DeBlasio appears to conflate three groups when discussing admissions:
    - low income
    - Black and African American
    - Latino
    Asian students are described as being over-represented in the NYC elite public high schools.
    Originally Posted by article
    State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, a former Brooklyn Tech teacher, ripped de Blasio’s plan.

    “To assume African-American and Latino students cannot pass the test is insulting to everyone and educationally unsound,” she said. “Many Asian-American students come from families who live in poverty.”

    At least 60 percent of kids at three of the specialized schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to DOE data.
    By contrast, the Policy Brief report appears to share statistics for each of these demographics individually, as well as considering the gender demographic.

    While pubic school reforms may be sorely needed, when considering admissions to elite high schools, it may be wise to look toward sports and emulate their choices in draft picks, qualifying for Olympic teams, etc.

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    Originally Posted by indigo
    While pubic school reforms may be sorely needed, when considering admissions to elite high schools, it may be wise to look toward sports and emulate their choices in draft picks, qualifying for Olympic teams, etc.


    Couldn't agree more.


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    I don't think the admissions test should be scrapped and agree with the following New York Post editorial:

    De Blasio’s plan to destroy New York’s top high schools
    June 3, 2018

    Quote
    Facing a long-known and genuine problem — the tiny percentage of black and Hispanic city public-school students who can pass the race-blind exam for entry into one of the specialized high schools — Mayor de Blasio opted on Saturday mostly for symbolism over substance.

    And even the substantial change that he’s making is just redistribution — sending some kids to top schools at the expense of others — when he has a far better option: creating more good high schools to meet the demand.

    The central complaint is that black and Hispanic kids make up nearly 70 percent of the public-school population, yet only 10 percent of the student bodies at the eight elite high schools. And girls outnumber boys in the larger system, while boys are a slight majority at the schools. De Blasio also notes that just 21 of the city’s 600 middle schools produced half the kids admitted to the “elite eight.”

    One big thing he doesn’t say is exactly how the test is to blame — that is, how it unfairly discriminates.

    In fact, the exam is just the messenger, pretty accurately determining which eighth-graders are actually prepared for the tough courses at Stuyvesant HS and the other elite schools. For the reasons so few black and Latino children do well on the test, you need to look elsewhere: to the K-8 schools, and to the level of family and community support for academic excellence.

    Nor does he note that the big “winners” under the current system are East and South Asian-American children: Far more than whites, they are “over-represented” at the top schools. They’d inevitably be the big losers under his reforms.

    Here is another piece on this topic from City Journal, a publication focused on urban issues:

    The Plot Against Merit
    Dennis Saffran
    Summer 2014

    Quote
    In 2004, seven-year-old Ting Shi arrived in New York from China, speaking almost no English. For two years, he shared a bedroom in a Chinatown apartment with his grandparents—a cook and a factory worker—and a young cousin, while his parents put in 12-hour days at a small Laundromat they had purchased on the Upper East Side. Ting mastered English and eventually set his sights on getting into Stuyvesant High School, the crown jewel of New York City’s eight “specialized high schools.” When he was in sixth grade, he took the subway downtown from his parents’ small apartment to the bustling high school to pick up prep books for its eighth-grade entrance exam. He prepared for the test over the next two years, working through the prep books and taking classes at one of the city’s free tutoring programs. His acceptance into Stuyvesant prompted a day of celebration at the Laundromat—an immigrant family’s dream beginning to come true. Ting, now a 17-year-old senior starting at NYU in the fall, says of his parents, who never went to college: “They came here for the next generation.”

    New York’s specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant and the equally storied Bronx High School of Science, along with Brooklyn Technical High School and five smaller schools, have produced 14 Nobel Laureates—more than most countries. For more than 70 years, admission to these schools has been based upon a competitive examination of math, verbal, and logical reasoning skills. In 1971, the state legislature, heading off city efforts to scrap the merit selection test as culturally biased against minorities, reaffirmed that admission to the schools be based on the competitive exam. (See “How Gotham’s Elite High Schools Escaped the Leveler’s Ax,” Spring 1999.) But now, troubled by declining black and Hispanic enrollment at the schools, opponents of the exam have resurfaced. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has filed a civil rights complaint challenging the admissions process. A bill in Albany to eliminate the test requirement has garnered the support of Sheldon Silver, the powerful Assembly Speaker. And new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, whose son, Dante, attends Brooklyn Tech, has called for changing the admissions criteria. The mayor argues that relying solely on the test creates a “rich-get-richer” dynamic that benefits the wealthy, who can afford expensive test preparation.

    As Ting’s story illustrates, however, the reality is just the opposite. It’s not affluent whites, but rather the city’s burgeoning population of Asian-American immigrants—a group that, despite its successes, remains disproportionately poor and working-class—whose children have aced the exam in overwhelming numbers. And, ironically, the more “holistic” and subjective admissions criteria that de Blasio and the NAACP favor would be much more likely to benefit children of the city’s professional elite than African-American and Latino applicants—while penalizing lower-middle-class Asian-American kids like Ting. The result would not be a specialized high school student body that “looks like New York,” but rather one that looks more like Bill de Blasio’s upscale Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn.


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    indigo Offline OP
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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    I don't think the admissions test should be scrapped and agree with the following New York Post editorial:
    Originally Posted by NYP editorial of June 3, 2018
    ...a far better option: creating more good high schools to meet the demand.
    Agreed. If the number of pupils who qualify for specialty schools exceeds the number of seats available, then it may be time to consider re-purposing gen-ed seats to gifted seats. This keeps the American Dream of upward socio-economic mobility alive for all who are willing to struggle, sacrifice, and work hard to develop their skills and abilities.

    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    Originally Posted by NYP editorial of June 3, 2018
    the "elite eight"
    This 2015 NYP article lists the top 8 schools in NYC as:
    1. Stuyvesant High School
    2. Staten Island Technical High School
    3. Bronx High School of Science
    4. High School Of American Studies At Lehman College
    5. Brooklyn Technical High School <= Mayor de Blasio's son attended
    6. High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College
    7. The Brooklyn Latin School
    8. Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
    And one more... Hunter College High School

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    Unlike some other areas, the Stuyvesant population is not full of rich upper middle class students, some 60% and more students are on free and reduced lunch. Just because the demographics are not proportional to the student population at large, doesn't mean the admission is somehow unfair. Why are all these politicians not tackle the real issue? Everything is about optics.

    Our local magnet program is going through the same changes. Let's see how long they can maintain their once stellar reputation if they continue. So far they have stayed away from high school, may be they realized not everyone is cut out to do the rigorous program, but maybe they are too foolish to know that and simply just haven't got to it yet.

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    Progressive Education Today
    How to ruin New York’s best high schools in the name of equality.
    Wall Street Journal
    June 6, 2018
    Quote
    ‘It’s like the [Education Department’s] motto is, ‘If it’s not broken, break it.’” So said state Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, in an apt summary of plans by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to diminish standards at eight high-performing public high schools.

    Mr. Dinowitz, who was quoted in the New York Post, is a proud alum of the Bronx High School of Science. In America’s largest school system, where most children are failing proficiency tests in math and reading, only a modern progressive such as Mr. de Blasio could think the solution is watering down standards at the schools where students are achieving.

    The mayor is alarmed because Asian students are disproportionately doing far better than black and Latino kids. At Manhattan’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School, for example, 2.8% of students are Latino and 0.69% black. But 72.9% are Asian-American.

    The disproportion is similar at other high-achieving New York City schools where admission is determined by an achievement test. Mr. de Blasio’s solution requires taking seats at these elite schools from Asian or white students and giving them to less qualified black and Latino children who may not be prepared for the academic demands. Either he’s setting these students up to fail, or he’ll have to ruin the schools by dumbing down their standards.

    The mayor wants to scrap the Specialized High School Admissions Test and introduce a quota of 20% for students from high-poverty schools. He complains that though there are almost 600 middle schools across the city, “half the students admitted to the specialized high schools last year came from just 21 of those schools.” He’s right that the school system he presides over does a grave disservice to black and Latino children. But he’ll never admit that the reason is because the public schools are run by and for adults, i.e., the teachers unions that are Mr. de Blasio’s political allies.

    Diversity, Not Merit
    Seth Barron
    City Journal
    June 4, 2018
    Quote
    For decades, admission to New York City’s eight elite “specialized high schools” has been based strictly on a high-stakes test administered to the city’s eighth-graders. The meritocratic premise is simple: regardless of who you are or how much your parents make, if you hit a certain score on the test, you’re guaranteed a place in one of these high schools, all among the best in the United States. But if Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way, New York will scrap this venerable system for one that is as close to a race-based quota scheme as constitutionally possible.

    Progressives criticize the admissions test as an instrument of “segregation” because black and Latino kids are underrepresented among students accepted at schools like Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech. Indeed, in 2016, Stuyvesant had only 20 black students among a student body of more than 3,000. Brooklyn Tech, where de Blasio’s son went, is somewhat more racially diverse, with 14.8 percent black and Latino representation. But in a city where blacks and Latinos make up two out of every three public school students, black and Latino enrollment in the most elite secondary schools is undeniably thin—a direct result of student performance on the entrance test.

    Yesterday, the mayor, backed by his new schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, announced that he plans to scrap the entrance test for the eight elite schools and replace it with a system offering admission to the kids in the top 7 percent of every junior school in the city. This change, according to the mayor, will make the schools “look like New York City” and answer the “demand for fairness” that supposedly rings across the five boroughs.

    Chancellor Carranza chimed in, saying that as “a man of color, and a parent of children of color, I’m proud to work with our Mayor to foster true equity and excellence at our specialized high schools.” Carranza, who has no prior experience in New York City, has not been shy about talking about his ethnic heritage and the special insight it gives him into the city’s educational needs. Last month, he told a parent concerned about a plan to overhaul radically her local junior high school’s admissions procedures that she should sign up to take implicit-bias classes. Carranza regards school screening as elitism, or even disguised racism. “Why are we segregating kids based on test scores?” he asks.

    Talking about racial disparities across the city’s schools as “segregation”—as teachers’ union president Michael Mulgrew did last week—is an abuse of language. School segregation in the United States refers distinctly to Jim Crow-era practices of legal, enforced separation of blacks from whites. The loaded word “segregation” stirs anger and resentment and in the present context implies that disparities in admissions are a function of white racism. David E. Kirkland, who runs NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools, made this claim in a press release circulated by the mayor’s office: “We’ve known for some time that the exclusion of Black and Brown students from the City’s specialized high schools and the kinds of opportunity hoarding enjoyed by more privilege (sic) racial and ethnic communities were in fact de jure consequences of lingering legacies of racism and white supremacy.”

    Asian Groups See Bias in Plan to Diversify New York’s Elite Schools
    By Elizabeth A. Harris and Winnie Hu
    New York Times
    June 5, 2018
    Quote
    A new plan to change the way students are admitted to New York’s elite public high schools is infuriating members of some Asian communities who feel they will be pushed aside in the drive to admit more than a handful of black and Latino students.

    But in a series of forceful statements on Tuesday, Richard A. Carranza, the schools chancellor, offered a blunt rebuttal to their claims. “I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools,” he said on Fox 5 New York.

    The battle revealed the charged emotions around who gets access to highly sought-after seats at the prestigious institutions, which include Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn Technical High School.

    “The test is the most unbiased way to get into a school,” said Peter Koo, a city councilman whose district includes Flushing, Queens, on Tuesday. “It doesn’t require an interview. It doesn’t require a résumé. It doesn’t even require connections. The mayor’s son just graduated from Brooklyn Tech and got into Yale. Now he wants to stop this and build a barrier to Asian-Americans — especially our children.”


    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell
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    indigo Offline OP
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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    David E. Kirkland, who runs NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools, made this claim in a press release circulated by the mayor’s office: “We’ve known for some time that the exclusion of Black and Brown students from the City’s specialized high schools and the kinds of opportunity hoarding enjoyed by more privilege (sic) racial and ethnic communities were in fact de jure consequences of lingering legacies of racism and white supremacy.”
    Possibly David Kirkland is uninformed.
    Regarding the demographics of the population served by the specialized high schools...
    - regarding race/ethnicity,
    - regarding socioeconomic status:
    Originally Posted by article
    Under the current system, Asian kids predominate at the city’s top high schools. They make up 74 percent of the population at Stuyvesant, 66 percent at Bronx Science and 61 percent at Brooklyn Tech. At Queens HS for Science at York College, 82 percent are Asian.
    ...
    State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, a former Brooklyn Tech teacher... “Many Asian-American students come from families who live in poverty.”

    At least 60 percent of kids at three of the specialized schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, according to DOE data.
    And regarding what factors influence degree of student success, according to the NYU's Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and The Transformation of Schools:
    “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents”
    - Jane D. Hull

    I am particularly unimpressed with the broken English in David Kirkland's recent tweet on this topic.
    One might expect better communication from a leader in education reform and associate professor of English:
    Originally Posted by twitter 10:49 PM · Jun 5, 2018
    Of course, the ideal plan would be to abolish specialized high schools altogether and make all our school in the city special. But as long as they exist, we must end the reality opportunity hoarding that specialized high schools allow for elite parents and students.
    In addition to apparent grammatical errors, this tweet uses the word "elite" in an ambiguous or undefined manner. Based on the context of Kirkland's other statements, it appears to divide by "privilege", however it perhaps more accurately acknowledges and decries the existence of various levels of outcomes/achievement/performance/ability, as expressed in this statement by Carranza -
    “Why are we segregating kids based on test scores?” he asks.
    To answer Carranza's question, I would say -
    For continuing growth and development, kids need:
    1) appropriate academic challenge
    2) true peers
    For typical kids, these needs may be met in a general ed classroom, however for children with higher IQ/giftedness, these needs may not be met without intentional effort in providing advanced curriculum, and grouping for instruction with academic/intellectual peers.

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    indigo Offline OP
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    I've been reading a bit more about David E. Kirkland and came across an interesting article featuring an interview with Kirkland in Jan 2017:
    Originally Posted by interview article
    There actually are many diverse neighborhoods, and — at the middle and high school level — we have lots of school choice. What will the center’s role be in trying to harness that? Are there opportunities there?

    New York city is this really interesting place where young people don’t necessarily get out of their neighborhoods. They may have a choice, but they don’t necessarily feel it. It’s the caged-bird effect. You can open the door to the cage and say ‘Hey, there’s a world out there, bird.’ But if that bird has been behind the cage forever, the bird is not going anywhere because its mind is caged.

    People don’t perceive the choice, if there is a choice. And that perception is necessary in order for there to be a choice.

    I believe Kirkland's stated concern may be well-answered by suggestions from the Policy Brief in the OP:
    - Perhaps, all students who reach a certain threshold on their state ELA and math scores, for instance, could receive an invitation (or automatically be signed up) to take the SHSAT.
    ...
    - Schools or community-based organizations might be able to improve access for disadvantaged students by offering free, high-quality SHSAT preparation.
    ...
    - Providing families with more information about the specialized schools, earlier on, might help seed interest in attending.
    To differing degrees, each of these proposals raises awareness and enhances the element of choice.

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    Caranza is not opposed to streaming. What he is opposed to is racial segregation of students, where the driving factor behind the segregation is socially driven, irrespective of student ability. In his district, blacks and Latinos are underrepresented in high ability programs, despite research indicating that their population prevalence is statistically indistinct from that of other races. That’s a problem of racism, not appropriate streaming.

    Racial de-segregation of schools, overlaid with comprehensive and race-blind gifted ID, is the solution. Pretending racism doesn’t exist and extolling “choice” is not a workable solution, just a tacit nod to self-serving racism.


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    Originally Posted by aquinas
    Caranza is not opposed to streaming. What he is opposed to is racial segregation of students, where the driving factor behind the segregation is socially driven, irrespective of student ability. In his district, blacks and Latinos are underrepresented in high ability programs, despite research indicating that their population prevalence is statistically indistinct from that of other races.
    Could you please cite this research?

    I think you are misusing the word "segregation", as explained in the excerpt by Seth Baron in post# 242994.

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