In keeping with the logic of Mayor de Blasio and his school chancellor, who both believe that a good solution for black and Latino minorities to get ahead in school is simply to eliminate the standardized test to get into New York’s toughest academies, why not do the same with the La Guardia school for the performing arts? Let’s forget about auditions and portfolios and try to even the number of boys who are admitted since only 26% of the student body is currently male. Why give priority to talent if you believe that intelligence and discipline, as reflected in the ability to ace a standardized test, are not essential pre-requisites for advanced academic work And why not insist that Asians are proportionately represented at La Guardia even if they don’t express as much interest in music and art. Or that girls, who currently account for only 40% of Stuyvesant are similarly favored to even their quota there.
Community activists argue that the discrimination against minorities is economic as much as racial but this is belied by the very population that is so well represented at Stuyvesant and Bronx Science - how many people know that the minority with the highest poverty rate in our city is Asian? Just as you can’t put the cart before the horse, you can’t pretend that by eliminating the screening for those who have the capacity to do advanced work, others will absorb it magically once they are in the company of advanced students The standardized test is the fairest prognosticator we have of student achievement, certainly more than subjective references from past teachers or even report cards from schools that may inflate their grades to enhance their own reputations and obscure their failures.
The mayor and chancellor seem to have forgotten the dismal facts of how students have done in those schools that got infusions of 582 million dollars to improve student performance. On far less complicated standardized tests for reading and math, the majority continued to fail. Only 65% of black and Latino public high school students graduate on time whereas the graduation rate for Asians is 85% and 82% for whites Without changing the consequences of single mother families, pervasive drug use, insufficient nurture of young children, absence of a father figure, rejection of values that prize self-control and delayed gratification - there can be no academic success. The city would have done much better to subsidize more Catholic schools or try to integrate more black and Latino students into grammar schools with large Asian populations starting with kindergarten.
We don’t consider it racist to have a 90% black basketball team or a majority black football team - we know they are there because they merit it by being the best players. Why is it then racist to offer placement at elite schools on the basis of merit alone , regardless of racial engineering? In de Blasio’s plan to reserve 20% of the entry class for low income students (presumably black and Latino), 20% of students who would have passed the test will be displaced, sacrificed to this muddle-headed scheme. They are precisely the ones who would have gone on to become the most productive members of society - those who were willing to work hard for years, not only to pass an entrance exam, but to continue working at maximum capacity for their own self-respect and goals.
Just as you don’t become an athlete or artist by standing next to the best in their fields, you don’t become an excellent student by sitting in a classroom full of them in 9th grade It’s far more likely that a considerable number of the new recruits will experience great frustration at their inability to compete and will either drop out or experience failure. We can only hope that this crackpot concession to p.c. demagoguery will not get state approval.
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