Accountability Race

Gary Rubinstein: What You Need to Know about Admissions to Specialized High Schools

Interesting essay samples and examples on:

Gary Rubinstein teaches mathematics at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, one of the most rigorous schools in the nation. Admission is based on scores on one examination given on one day. The top scorers are accepted, as is the case in several other exam schools in New York City.

Gary wrote a series of posts about these schools and their admissions policies. Here is a link to all of them.

In this one, for example, Gary examines the validity of the test that is required, known by its acronym as SHSAT.

In this one, he asks whether schools like his own are “too hard,” which begins:

Of course Stuyvesant is hard. Like climbing Mount Everest is hard. Like training to be an Olympic gymnast is hard.

Back when I started there 20 years ago nobody questioned if Stuyvesant had to be this demanding. The old principal, Stanley Tietel, used to tell the incoming freshman class “Sleep, grades, and social life. You can’t have all three, you have to pick two.”

Several of them deal with the demographics of the students who are admitted. Like this one, which addresses the high proportion of Asian students in the specialized high schools.

It begins:

Are there too many Jews in Hollywood?

Are there too many transgender people in the military?

Are there too many Latino baseball players?

Are there too many Asian students at the New York City specialized high schools?

Did you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above?

Asian students make up 17% of the 8th graders in New York City. They also make up 35% of the students who take the SHSAT and get 52% of the offers to the specialized schools.

Latino and Black students combine to make up 68% of the 8th graders, 32% of the SHSAT test takers, and 10% of the offers.

Statistically speaking, an Asian student is about 16 times more likely to get an offer to a specialized high school than a Latino student or a Black student.

All of these essays are worth reading.

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