SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2023
Who got into Stuyvesant High? At the New York Times, it happens (almost) every spring.
It isn't on the front page this year. At this early stage in the game, the topic is being downplayed as opposed to some preceding years.
Still, they do it (virtually) every spring! On page A12, headline included, Troy Closson's news report this morning begins as shown:
Stuyvesant High School Admitted 762 New Students. Only 7 Are Black.
About 10 percent of offers to New York City’s most elite public high schools went to Black and Latino students this year, education officials announced on Thursday, in a school system where they make up more than two-thirds of the student population overall.
The numbers—which have remained stubbornly low for years—placed a fresh spotlight on racial and ethnic disparities in the nation’s largest school system.
At Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, the most selective of the city’s so-called specialized schools, seven of the 762 offers made went to Black students, down from 11 last year and eight in 2021. Twenty Latino students were offered spots at Stuyvesant, as were 489 Asian students and 158 white students. The rest went to multiracial students and students whose race was unknown.
The report continues from there. In print editions, the headline says this:
Elite Schools In New York Show Gaps In Diversity
Without any question, that headline is accurate. That said, where's the rest of this (very important) cultural story?
A report of this type appears in the Times (almost) every year. This year, only seven black kids got admitted to Stuyvesant High, the jewel of the city's school system.
Troy Closson is a young reporter (Northwestern, class of 2020) with no particular background in education reporting. What we're going to say is not—is not—a commentary on him.
What we'll say is a commentary on the values of the New York Times. It's a commentary on the way the Times discusses—or more accurately, chooses to avoid discussing—the background to this situation.
There's an obvious background to this situation which the Times routinely disappears. That background can be spotted in these average scores from last year's Grade 8 Naep math test:
Average scores, New York City
Grade 8 math, Naep 2022
White kids: 296.01
Black kids: 247.11
Hispanic kids: 254.43
Asian ancestry kids: 303.38
For the record, the Naep plays no role—zero; none—in the admission process to Gotham's high-powered "specialized high schools."
That said, those numbers suggest the existence of gigantic achievement gaps among the groups in question. And no, it isn't just New York City. The national figures looked like this:
Average scores, U.S. public schools
Grade 8 math, Naep 2022
White kids: 283.30
Black kids: 252.08
Hispanic kids: 260.81
Asian ancestry kids: 303.90
Nationwide, the white/black achievement gap was substantially smaller. That said, it was still enormous, and Asian kids were lapping the field as compared to everyone else, as they always do.
We mention these figures because the New York Times won't. Presumably, the lofty people at the Times find such numbers embarrassing, awkward, undesirable.
Presumably for that reason, they present their annual report without offering any particular information about the background to the situation at high-powered Stuyvesant High. Often, they do so while brandishing the crowd-pleasing term "segregation" in typical crowd-pleasing ways.
For the record, the vast majority of Gotham kids won't go to Stuyvesant High. In fact, the vast majority of Gotham kids won't go to any of the city's high-powered "specialized high schools."
Those high schools serve the city's highest-achieving students. Most kids, from whatever demographic, don't belong to that group.
Those Naep figures display the gigantic achievement gaps which exist among the vast majority of kids in New York City—among the kids who won't be going to Stuyvesant High, then possibly on to Yale. In its education reporting, the Times shows amazingly little interest in the needs, the interests or the happiness of that vast number of kids.
Instead, the paper prefers to puff and preen about the one percent.
We've postponed the report we had planned for today to bring you this information. In closing, we'll tell you this about those gigantic achievement gaps—about the gaps you'll never be asked to read about in the New York Times:
No one cares about those punishing gaps, and no one ever has! The high-minded people at the Times won't even report their existence.
It's been like this for a very long time. For decades now, there has been little sign that our own blue tribe actually cares about this.
Almost every year: Oddly, we can't find a news report in the Times on this evergreen topic from the spring of last year.
By long tradition, this high-minded news report has been an annual event. By tradition, the newspaper laments the terrible numbers from Stuyvesant High while omitting all background information.
It's virtue signaling at its most obvious. It happens (almost) every year:
April 4, 2021, page A18:
March 19, 2020. page A26:
March 18, 2019. page A1:
March 7, 2018, page A25:
When it comes to this important topic, the New York Times spills with virtue, is bereft of information or ideas.
This is who and what we actually are. As we've noted again and again, it's been this way forever.