The moment we have all been waiting for happened on Monday, March 18th. New York City received the startling 2019 SHSAT results and for some reason our city was shocked. The unfortunate reality is that these outcomes have been virtually unchanged for the last decade or so. We stand on the fact that the results will remain the same until appropriate action is taken to address the root cause of the issue. We will address this in another post.
Here are the stats you need to know: In 2019, 4.0 percent of offers to attend the city's eight Specialized High Schools went to black students (down from 4.1% last year) and 6.6 percent of the offers went to Hispanic students (up from 6.3% last year). While these percentages don’t equate to significant changes in the number of students placing, it is still important to note the increase. Additionally, the DOE has yet to extend offers to the Discovery program. The Mayor’s proposal has allotted seats in the Discovery program to any student who scores a few points shy of the minimum cut off score to each Specialized High School in an effort to help address the diversity issue. The Mayor set out to ensure that 20% of the seats were given to educationally and economically disadvantaged students, which happen to be black and latinx students. Once these offers are made, we WILL see another INCREASE in the number of students placing into Specialized High Schools. So, sit tight everyone. There is much room for celebration!
For anyone who is asking why this is a big deal, let me explain. Black and latinx students comprise almost 70 percent of students in the NYC public school system yet only 10% of the seats offered at Specialized High Schools. These results are a glaring display of the educational inequities running rampant through our system as well as the need to invest in test prep companies like AdmissionSquad to help rebuild and preserve the talent pipeline.
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
By addressing these two critical factors, NYC stands to gain access to a talent pipeline that has been overlooked for the past two decades. Believe it or not, there are many parents, grandparents, 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, the middle schoolers oftentimes cannot see themselves in these schools because of the lack of diversity. I challenge all of us to come together to train our children to become competitive and create a more inclusive environment in the Specialized High Schools. With increased awareness, academic enrichment, access to rigorous test prep and long-term support, these students can secure a seat on the Education to Wealth Pipeline.
Our work continues!