It seems New York City’s specialized schools continue to have a problem when it comes to admitting minority students.
According to city's Department of Education data released this week, of the 5,096 eighth graders offered a spot to one of New York City’s eight exam-based specialized high schools for the 2014-2015 school year, only 11 percent are black or Hispanic, per education outlet Chalkbeat New York. At the same time, more than 70 percent of the city’s eighth graders are black or Hispanic, the outlet reports.
While these numbers do not differ drastically from last year, the numbers of minority students accepted did drop in specific schools. For example, of the 952 students admitted to the highly competitive Stuyvesant High School this year, only 7 students are black and 21 are Hispanic, data show. Last year, nine black students and 24 Hispanic students were accepted to Stuyvesant, Chalkbeat New York notes.
With the exception of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts -- which accepts students based on auditions and academics -- spots in New York City’s other eight specialized schools are based on a single entrance exam.
As a result of the lack of minority enrollment in the city’s magnet schools, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city needs to find a different system.
“These schools are the jewels in the crown for our public school system,” de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday, according to the New York Times. “This is a city blessed with such diversity. Our schools, especially our particularly exceptional schools, need to reflect that diversity.”
While any major policy changes to the magnet school system have to be approved by lawmakers in Albany, N.Y., de Blasio was reportedly optimistic officials could forge a deal that would increase diversity. Still, he has yet to offer specific plans.
While in office, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg maintained the system was fair.
“I think that Stuyvesant and these other schools are as fair as fair can be,” Bloomberg said, according to a 2012 New York Times article. “There’s nothing subjective about this. 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.”