The NAACP alleges schools like Stuyvesant High School have discriminatory admission practices. Only 1 percent of students at Stuy High are African American.
The NAACP has filed a bombshell complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging discriminatory admission practices at the city’s elite high schools.
In a blistering document delivered to the feds Thursday morning, the NAACP accused the city of barring black and Latino students from eight of its “best public schools,” including Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, where only 1% of students are black. “Black and Latino students don’t see opportunity at places like Stuyvesant because of the admissions process,” said NAACP attorney Rachel Kleinman. “It’s not fair and it’s bad policy.”
The city’s Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is the only method that is used to judge students for admission to the eight elite high schools.
The NAACP believes the grueling exam is unfair to black and Latino students because they are denied admission “at rates far higher than other racial groups.” Nearly 31% of white students and 35% of Asian students who take the test are offered seats at the top schools, compared with just 5% of black students and 6.7% of Latinos.
The NAACP doesn’t specify how the test discriminates against blacks and Latinos, but Kleinman said those students may lack tutoring and other resources. Education officials hit back against the NAACP’s complaint, arguing the test is color-blind.
“We want all of our students to have opportunities to prepare for the test,” said agency spokeswoman Deidrea Miller.
For years, black and Latino students have struggled to gain admission to the city’s top institutions, including Brooklyn Technical High School and the Bronx High School of Science. Just 7% of students in the specialized high schools are black, although black students account for 28% of overall enrollment in city schools.
Asian and white students, who account for about 31% of the city’s overall student body, occupy more than 85% of the seats in the elite high schools.
The U.S. Department of Education will review the complaint and, if needed, work with the city to change policies — a process that may require new state legislation.