The city should screen students for its seven specialized high schools holistically, rather than by using only the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund argues in a new report. The organization has called attention to the schools’ admissions process for years to explain why few students of color attend the ultra-selective schools. Last year, it filed a federal civil rights complaint against the process.
The new report recaps recommendations that the group has made before, to consider students’ grades, state test scores, and teacher recommendations in the admissions process. The difference now is that Bill de Blasio, the frontrunner to replace Mayor Bloomberg next year, has said that he would ask legislators to change the admissions process, which is set out in state law.
The Bloomberg administration had maintained that even though the number of students of color enrolled at the schools was not satisfactory, the process did not need to change. Instead, the administration focused on increasing access to prep course for the admissions test. But last year, the number of black and Hispanic students admitted to the most selective schools fell again.