The number of Black students entering New York City’s elite public schools hit a shocking low that renewed questions about the fairness of using standardized tests as the only measure for admissions.
Only seven Black students gained entrance this year to Stuyvesant High School out of 895 available seats, the New York Times reported on Monday. The number has steadily decreased in recent years, from 13 in 2017 to 10 last year.
The damning report from the New York Times that the highlighted racial inequalities came against the backdrop of the ongoing college admissions scandal in which wealthy parents paid bribes to enable their underperforming children to enter some of the nation’s top schools.
At the Bronx High School of Science, another of the New York City’s prestigious public schools, Black students were offered 12 seats. Last year 25 African-American students were offered admission.
“Of the nearly 4,800 students admitted into the specialized schools, 190 are black — compared to 207 black students admitted last year out of just over 5,000 offers. About 5,500 black students took the admissions exam this year out of a total of about 27,500 applicants,” according to the Times.
That stood in contrast to when the percentages were higher decades ago, an apparent indication of how the overall decline in education quality over the years has hit Black communities the hardest.
Admission to the elite schools depends on performance on a single standardized exam.
The U.S. education system began using “racist” standardized tests more than a century ago to keep elite schools white and upper-class, according to the National Education Association.
“Decades of research demonstrate that African-American, Latino, and Native American students, as well as students from some Asian groups, experience bias from standardized tests administered from early childhood through college,” the organization wrote in a post titled, “The Racist Beginnings of Standardized Testing.”
The news out of New York prompted some people to take to Twitter to point out that poor quality schools and a lack of family financial resources to pay for test preparation also put low-income students of color at a huge disadvantage.
“Opponents who seek continued reliance on standardized tests are out of step with the growing body of evidence that confirms that these tests are infected with racial bias and poor predictors of a student’s academic potential,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement. “Many of the most academically gifted African American and Latino students continue to find themselves excluded from these elite schools.”