In a Sunday opinion piece in The New York Times, lefty intellectual Richard D. Kahlenberg condemns the admissions practices of New York City’s eight highly-selective public schools for admitting a lower number of black and Latino students than he wants.
For some reason, Kahlenberg fails to mention that students who self-identify as Asian overwhelmingly make up the majority of the students at the three most prestigious of these schools.
“[T]his year, only 5 percent of seats at those eight schools were offered to black students and 7 percent to Latinos, in a city where the public schools are 70 percent black and Latino,” the one-time Democratic legislative assistant gripes. “At Stuyvesant High School, just 3 percent of offered seats this year went to black and Latino students.”
Kahlenberg also lauds New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for his promise to add diversity to the city’s elite public schools by expanding the admissions criteria beyond a single, local standardized test. De Blasio wants to include grade-school grade-point averages, scores on other high-stakes tests and (that huge indicator of brilliance) school attendance.
As the senior fellow at The Century Foundation notes, three of New York’s ultra-selective public high schools require the single standardized test because of a state law — Stuyvesant High School, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School. For the other five, Kahlenberg says, de Blasio could change the admission criteria unilaterally.
In 777 words, Kahlenberg manages to drop the words “black” and “Latino” a grand total of a dozen times. Not once, however, does he mention the words “white” or “Asian” (or any synonym for those terms).
This omission by the Harvard Law grad is odd because at all three of the schools Kahlenberg specifically mentions — Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech — Asian kids represent tremendous majorities. White kids — along with their black and Latino peers — are a substantial minority.
At Stuyvesant, kids who self-identify as Asian make up 72.5 percent of the overall student population — 2,379 kids. By comparison, there are 719 white students, 78 Hispanic students and 33 black students.
At Bronx Science, the situation is similar. Kids who call themselves Asian constitute 62 percent of the student population — 1,880 kids. There are 700 white students, 195 Hispanic students and 90 black students.
At Brooklyn Tech, Asian kids comprise 60 percent of the total population — 3,257 students. There are 1,086 white kids, 444 black kid and 430 Hispanic kids.
As Kahlenberg observes, Mayor de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, had a different take on New York City’s legendary selective public schools.
“You pass the test, you get the highest score, you get into the school — no matter what your ethnicity, no matter what your economic background is,” Bloomberg suggested in 2012.
Meanwhile, the liberal intellectual mentions, several groups including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund have lodged a federal civil rights complaint seeking to force New York’s elite public schools to admit fewer Asians.