It's rich with winners and losers: It happens every spring!
Admission offers are sent to eighth graders who want to attend Stuyvesant High, New York City's most "prestigious" and "elite" public high school.
These offers are wholly based on results from a single challenging exam. Remarkable statistics soon appear—remarkable data like these:
Admission offers to Stuyvesant High, March 2019Those are truly remarkable data—but then again, they aren't.
Asian-American students: 587
White students: 194
Hispanic students: 33
Black students: 7
In what way are those data "truly remarkable?" The answer is obvious. Eliza Shapiro delivered the mail in a front-page report in the March 19 New York Times:
SHAPIRO (3/19/19): Though black and Hispanic students make up nearly 70 percent of New York City’s public school system as a whole, just over 10 percent of students admitted into the city’s eight specialized high schools were black or Hispanic, according to statistics released Monday by the city [no link provided]. That percentage is flat compared to last year.In one obvious sense, those are amazing statistics. Based upon their total numbers within Gotham's schools, the city's black and Hispanic kids are massively "under-represented" at these eight high-powered high schools.
Of the nearly 4,800 students admitted into the specialized schools, 190 are black...
In that sense, the Stuyvesant admission figures are truly remarkable. But in another obvious sense, they aren't.
In another sense, those Stuyvesant figures are completely and wholly predictable. We base that statement upon data like these—data which will never be reported or discussed in the New York Times, a defiantly upper-class, pseudo-liberal newspaper:
Average scores, Grade 8 mathWe've shown you those data quite a few times over the course of the past several weeks. You've never seen such data in the Times, and you never will.
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep
White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
90th percentile scores, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep
White students: 337.79
Black students: 299.75
Hispanic students: 309.51
Asian-American students: 355.63
Those data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the highly-regarded federal program described as the "gold standard" of domestic educational testing. Those data suggest that giant achievement gaps exist between different groups of Gotham eighth-graders, both on average and at the highest achievement levels.
Once you've seen those data from the Naep, those admission figures for Stuyvesant High are completely predictable. Perhaps for that reason, you won't be told, in the New York Times, about those scores from the Naep, or about the apparent size of the achievement gaps defined by those ugly test scores.
Instead, relentless hustlers like Shapiro will go on NPR's All Things Considered and con the gullible true believers of our own liberal world. With the assistance of NPR's Ailsa Chang, Shapiro will even be willing to say such things as this:
CHANG (3/19/19): So what have been the explanations for why these stark racial disparities exist at these eight elite schools?For a fuller account of that interview, see yesterday's report.
SHAPIRO: Yeah, so I think there's two things. The biggest issue here is test prep. We've seen the same debate with the SAT and ACT, certainly, in light of the college admissions scandal. There is a huge test prep industry in New York that prepares kids who are aware of the test to master it. So test prep is one. The other, which is related, is awareness. Some kids know about these schools from the minute they're in kindergarten. Some kids learn about the existence of the specialized high school system and the test to get into them a few months before they can sit to take the test.
In that deeply remarkable con, Shapiro seemed to say that there are two causes for the vast gap in admission offers. The gap is caused by "test prep," she said, and also by test "awareness."
No one with an ounce of sense could believe that Shapiro's presentation was anything but a con. That said, Chang—a deeply accomplished Asian-American with advanced degrees from everywhere on the face of the earth—was willing to pretend that this presentation made sense.
Truth to tell, those admission figures to Stuyvesant High represent a giant American problem. This problem exists all over the country, not just in olde New York—but there are some people in New York City who see the size and the shape of this problem as it actually exists.
New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, has proposed a plan to get more black kids into Stuyvesant. We'll be reviewing his proposal during the rest of the week, but we can already tell you this:
The mayor's plan might as well be called The Asian Removal Act. The upper-class hacks at the New York Times stand behind it heart and soul.
Some others in Gotham may not! One such person is quoted today by New York magazine's Matt Steib in a lengthy report on the way de Blasio is viewed by his Gotham constituents.
"Mayor Pete" has caught on big in the White House sweepstakes this year; "Mayor Bill" has not. Stieb notes the endless string of Gotham residents who have urged de Blasio 1) to stop going to Iowa and 2) not to run for the White House. Stieb's first example is this:
STIEB (4/9/19): Park Slope VotersUh-oh! Waters seems to be one of those people who have noticed that black kids as a group are ending up on the short end of the stick in New York City's schools.
De Blasio gets a lot of flack for his frequent commutes all the way from Gracie Mansion to the Park Slope YMCA—the Times once called the gym his Camp David. But according to a WNYC report, some Park Slope voters have more serious concerns about his record on education: “Black children and people of color are still not getting a proper education,” Onilaja Waters said. “I would tell the people of the United States that this is someone who talks a progressive agenda, but what we see in New York City is very mixed.”
She seems to be thinking of black kids on the whole, not just of the handful of kids who might end up at Yale. In a gruesome interview with Slate's Mary Harris, Times board member Mara Gay warned us about such people.
Why do some black office holders oppose the mayor's plan? Comically, Gay said this:
GAY (3/26/19): I think that it's a combination of not wanting to anger Asian communities, who have been quite united on this issue. But there's also the issue that, within the black community specifically, there's not a single line of thinking about integration. And a lot of people are focused on bettering, so to speak, all the schools, or maybe integration isn't a priority for them. I feel very strongly about integration, but not everyone does.A lot of people want to better all the schools! Comically, Gay seemed to admit that she isn't one of those people!
As noted, the achievement gaps involving black kids are observed all over the country. There's no reason to think that Mayor de Blasio would have any idea what to do to address those punishing gaps. Nor is there any particular sign that he actually cares.
That said, it's perfectly clear that the New York Times doesn't care about the vast bulk of New York City's black kids. At the Times, they seem to care about the only black kids who actually matter—those kids who might end up at Yale.
We're going to spend the rest of the week looking at Mayor de Blasio's plan, which has sometimes been called "the seven percent solution."
In an open act of collusion, the New York Times has endorsed the plan. In a way which is completely unnecessary, it's rich with winners and losers.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. The mayor's plan is a low-IQ mess.
The New York Times is all in on that mess. Tomorrow, its winners and losers.
Tomorrow: High-achievers like NPR's Chang, please report to the door!