27th February 2012
New York City has eight specialized high schools whose admission is based entirely on the results of an entrance exam, a meritocratic system that does not consider race or ethnicity. The top score on the exam is 800. In recent years, the cutoff for Stuyvesant has been around 560; Rudi scored 594.
Earning a spot at Stuyvesant is unquestionably a badge of honor, sort of a secret knock to an exclusive club. As high school admissions decisions are revealed across the city in the coming week, many people are concerned that it is a club that black students — and, to a similar extent, Latinos — have an increasingly hard time cracking.
Entrance based on merit? How did that happen in New York City? This is the New York Times, after all; the real miracle is that it is being written about at all.
No one claims that the disparity is caused by overt discrimination. But in a school that is devised to attract the best of the best, parents and educators alike find the demographics troubling. It has become a question of perception as to who belongs.
They don’t quite say ‘women and minorities hardest hit’, but you know they’re thinking it.