Thursday, July 19, 2007

Separate standards for African-Americans and Latinos and elite public schools in New York City

Chuck Bennett:

A free course offered by the city Department of Education to train students to ace admissions tests at elite public high schools like Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech has been quietly enforcing separate standards for blacks and Latinos compared with whites and Asians for the past decade, The Post has learned.

Asian and white students had to be "free-or reduced-lunch eligible" to qualify, according to department guidelines - meaning a white or Asian student from a family of four with an annual income above $37,000 was too rich for the program.

Black and Latino students had no such family-income requirements.

Stanley Ng said his Chinese-American daughter was denied an application for the 16-month program two years ago, when she was 11. Ng's income was over the threshold, but he said race scuttled his daughter's chance to apply.

"I was told that the Specialized High School Institute was already overrepresented with Chinese," Ng said, citing a conversation with an Education Department official last year.

"There is no way they could have found out about my [financial] status until I filled out an application."

Blacks and Latinos, combined, make up just 6 percent of Stuyvesant students and 25 percent of Brooklyn Tech kids, while Asians account for 56 percent of students at Stuyvesant and 49 percent at Brooklyn Tech.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling - saying race can't be used to decide which public schools kids attend - could wind up changing the rules for the institute.

"The [institute] was created to help prepare low-income and underrepresented minority students for the specialized-high-school entrance exam. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, we are reviewing the eligibility criteria," said Education Department spokeswoman Melody Meyer.

Let's hope that the recent Supreme Court ruling brings an end to this sort of nonsense.

School Diversity Based on Income Segregates Some

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