The mayor's winners and losers: Very few kids from any group will go to Stuyvesant High School.
According to the U.S. News report concerning the nation's "Best High Schools," the famously elite, prestigious school "is one of 524 high schools in the New York City Public Schools."
That's a lot of high schools in New York City! Meanwhile, U.S. News lists Stuyvesant's 2018 enrollment at 3,328 students, or a bit over 800 students per grade.
In most American jurisdictions, that's a very big high school. But there are roughly 1.1 million students in the New York City Public Schools, the nation's largest school system.
The vast majority of Gotham's kids will never go to Stuyvesant. But at the famously upper-class New York Times, the kids who go to Stuyvesant High seem to be the only kids who count.
Somewhat surprisingly, U.S. News ranks Stuyvesant as Gotham's tenth best high school. But, as mentioned, Stuyvesant High is famous for being "elite," and is therefore highly "prestigious."
For that reason, the New York Times cares about black kids who go to Stuyvesant. The newspaper doesn't seem to care about black kids who go somewhere else.
In that sense, the famously Hamptons-based Times doesn't seem to care about the vast majority of Gotham's black kids—good decent kids for whom, all too often, life ain't been no crystal stair. The paper isn't even willing to to tell you about the vast achievement gaps which obtain across New York City's vast array of public schools—achievement gaps which compromise the life interests of these good decent (non-Stuyvesant) black kids.
With this brief bit of background completed, let's return to Mayor de Blasio's simplistic plan for Stuyvesant High—his "seven percent solution."
In yesterday's report, we quoted Times board member Mara Gay as she described the mayor's plan, which the Times board has endorsed. Here's the statement Gay made to Slate's Mary Harris, part of the most god-awful public discussion ever conducted on earth:
HARRIS (3/26/19): New York City's mayor, Bill de Blasio, he's struggled to be direct about the city's schools. He even avoided calling them "segregated" until this latest admissions story popped up last week. But he has come up with a plan.Gay thinks something drastic is required. For that reason, she endorses the mayor's simple-minded proposal, in which the top seven percent from each middle school would be admitted to Gotham's most high-powered high schools.
GAY: The one good thing he has done so far is put forth this plan, which we have endorsed at the board, the editorial board of the Times, to take the top seven percent highest achievers of every middle school and try and offer them admission to the city's specialized schools. It's not perfect, but I think something drastic is required, and so that's a decent plan.
To Gay, the plan is less than perfect. At this site, we'd be inclined to call it "fly-infested," in part for reasons we discussed in yesterday's report.
That said, despite its lack of perfection, Gay supports the plan. But uh-oh! Earlier in their conversation, Gay also told Harris this:
GAY: I don't think this is an issue where there should be winners and losers. I think it's unfortunate, and it shows you what the need is in this city for great public education.Gay doesn't think there should be winners and losers in this matter! In that case, we can only say this:
You know, I wish that we could just snap our fingers and expand and have more seats in these schools automatically. We can't do that, at least in the time being.
She has rather plainly endorsed the wrong simple-minded plan.
In fact, Mayor de Blasio's ugly plan is rich with winners and losers! He hasn't proposed adding seats to Stuyvesant and to Gotham's other "specialized high schools," thus increasing the likelihood that every "brilliant, accomplished" student could attend these schools.
(That would include the brilliant students of the mayor's and Gay's cruel dreams.)
The mayor hasn't proposed adding seats. He hasn't proposed opening a Stuyvesant Annex, meaning that every kid who can sensibly be expected to handle the school's high-powered curriculum would be have a chance to be challenged by it.
The mayor would leave the number of seats unchanged. He'd simply change the "race" and ethnicity of the kids who are permitted to occupy them.
The current admission procedure at Stuyvesant High is based on academic performance, full and complete total stop. Meanwhile, the data we keep showing you—the data you'll never see in the New York Times—help us see why Stuyvesant's current enrollment is heavily Asian-American:
90th percentile scores, Grade 8 mathFor all Naep data, start here.
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep
White students: 337.79
Black students: 299.75
Hispanic students: 309.51
Asian-American students: 355.63
Students at "Advanced" level, Grade 8 math
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep
White students: 13.2%
Black students: 0.9%
Hispanic students: 2.1%
Asian-American students: 27.3%
Those sobering statistics remove the mystery about Stuyvesant High's current demographics. For that reason, you never see such data reported or discussed within the New York Times, by board members like the youthful Gay or by reporters like the even younger Eliza Shapiro.
At present, Stuyvesant is heavy with Asian-American kids for a blindingly obvious reason. All across the United States, not excluding New York City, Asian-American kids are, at present, and for whatever reason, our highest academic performers by far.
For whatever reason, the achievement gaps between black and Asian-American kids are extremely large. This defines a major national problem—a major problem the New York Times doesn't want to report or discuss.
Mayor de Blasio doesn't seem to care about that major problem either. Neither does Mara Gay, who emerged in that conversation with Harris as a propagandist of the highest and most ridiculous order.
In fairness, Gay isn't an education specialist. The Times cares so little about pubic schools that it doesn't have such a person on its editorial board.
Instead, it sent its youngest new board member out to hector the public about her city's public schools, though only about such schools as serve her city's top two percent. The vast majority of black kids—the kids who produce the average score shown below—are apparently beneath this board member's regard:
Average scores, Grade 8 mathThose average scores define a major American problem. Unless you read the New York Times, which only cares about black kids who might end up at Yale!
New York City Public Schools, 2017 Naep
White students: 290.71
Black students: 255.63
Hispanic students: 263.56
Asian-American students: 306.03
At any rate, Gay told Harris that she doesn't want to see winners and losers in any new plan for Gotham's eight "specialized high schools." Unfortunately, her own newspaper, one week before, had included this remarkable bit of analysis in a front-page report about those very same schools:
SHAPIRO (3/19/19): The specialized school admissions process has been protected by state law since 1971, but last summer, Mr. de Blasio asked for Albany’s approval to scrap the exam and replace it with a system that admits the top performers from every city middle school.High-performing Asian-American kids, please report to the door! According to that analysis, seats occupied by this highest-performing group would literally be cut by half under the mayor's proposal.
A recent report found that offers to Asian-American students, who now make up about 60 percent of the specialized schools, would drop by about half under the mayor’s plan, while offers to black students would increase fivefold if that plan is approved.
Critics of Mr. de Blasio’s plan have expressed frustration that he did not offer the Asian-American community any concessions, such as a new specialized high school, for all the seats they would lose under the proposal.
Seats for the lowest-performing group would increase fivefold! In a report in this morning's Times, Shapiro takes things a bit further:
SHAPIRO (4/11/19): Mr. de Blasio’s plan to scrap the admissions exam, which must be approved by the State Legislature, and create a new system that enrolls the top performers at each city middle school into elite high schools has been met with a fierce backlash. Alumni say it would water down the schools’ quality and Asian-American parents argue the plan is biased against their children.Despite Gay's misleading protestations, the mayor's simplistic plan teems with winners and losers. Because this hapless mayor has chosen to add no additional seats at these schools, his simplistic proposal might as well be called "The Asian Removal Act."
The city has projected that eliminating the exam would transform the specialized schools’ demographics from about 10 percent black and Hispanic to about 45 percent, and an independent analysis found that offers to Asian-American students would drop from about 60 percent to 30 percent.
Should New York City be operating highly selective high schools at all? Should it be operating high schools which feature an extremely challenging curriculum and nothing else?
Different people will have different ideas about such questions. But on one point there can be no dispute:
The upper-class folk at the New York Times don't seem to care about the vast majority of New York City's black kids. They've ignored their plight for the past fifty years, and so have the Gays of this world.
Tomorrow: Nothing to look at! Just move along! Our liberal tribe has behaved this way for the past fifty years...