Segregation won another round in New York City’s most elite “public” schools. The admission numbers are out and they are pathetic. Black and Latino children make up 67.6 percent of the students in NYC schools, yet only 10 percent of the students admitted to the selective high schools. And get this, only one—yes one—Black student was admitted to Staten Island Technical High School.
For all those charter critics who complain about segregation or creaming of students: You got a bigger mess to clean up in your own front yard before you come snooping around the charters. Chalkbeat covered the numbers in some more detail, but there is no way to spin this story positively.
Every year it’s the same thing with the specialized high schools, maybe some marginal increase, next year maybe it will be 11 percent. Maybe 1.5 Black kids will get into Staten Island Tech next year.
This should be a scandal for anyone worried about equity. These schools are gateways to better college options and they pretty much shut out Black and Latino children. And remember, we call these “public” schools, paid for by public tax dollars with a mission to serve the public.
So where is the outrage? Where are the calls for reform? Where are those critics who are so worried about the alleged segregating effect of charter schools? They seem to be notably silent on this outrage.
Let’s be clear. The most segregated charter in NYC is nowhere near the numbers of any of the specialized high schools. I challenge anyone to make a straight-faced argument that any of these schools is more “public” than any charter. This isn’t to excuse any charter shenanigans—I just want to focus on a better working definition of “public schools.” We need a definition that actually embraces our democratic ideals of inclusion, equitable treatment and transparency.
And this is not a NYC only problem, though NYC is by far the most egregious. You can see disparities in other cities as well. Though you can also see that some, like Chicago, are making substantial progress and others, like Boston, may be backsliding. But polices and political will matter in changing these facts on the ground.
Here are what the numbers look like according to a recent report
So next time y’all want to start throwing rocks at the charters while shirking the specialized school challenge, you might want to watch out. That glass house you are standing in can’t withstand scrutiny.