In 2017, only 3.8 percent of offers to attend eight specialized high schools went to black students and 6.5 percent went to Hispanic students, according to data released by Chalkbeat, though those populations comprise almost 70 percent of students in the NYC public school system. The vast majority of eighth graders who received offers were white or Asian.
The 2018 SHSAT results closely mirrored the 2017 results, despite efforts by the Department of Education to change the exam to make it more fair. In 2018, 3.6 percent of offers to attend the city's eight Specialized High Schools went to black students and 4.9 percent went to Hispanic students. The numbers actually went down for these students.
We believe that this target population has the ability to gain admission into these highly sought after high schools as long as a concerted effort is made to:
- Close the information gap causing students from this population to miss out on the opportunity to attend a Specialized High School
- Provide high-quality test prep to as many highly motivated, deserving students as possible starting from 3rd grade
Believe it or not, there are many parents, guidance counselors, teachers, youth ministry leaders, family members, etc. in black and brown communities that know very little about the city's Specialized High Schools and what it really takes to get in. More importantly, they oftentimes cannot see themselves in these schools because of the current demographic breakdown at the schools or the lack of an immediate connection to someone who has attended one of the schools. By addressing these two critical factors, NYC stands to gain access to a talent pipeline that has been overlooked for the past two decades. With increased awareness, academic enrichment, and long-term support, these students can secure a seat on the Education to Wealth Pipeline.
We still have more work to do!