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Petitioning NYC Council Member, District 42 Inez Barron and 40 others

Keep the SHSAT - Support keeping the Specialized High School Admission Test of NYC--Vote NO to the City Resolution to Replace it.

“We Are Not Test Robots”! 

We are the proud students of the Specialized High Schools of New York City. We did not gain entry only because of repetitive test prep and we are not one dimensional. 

In fact, we are dynamic, imaginative and enterprising individuals who worked hard to showcase our achievements through an objective and unbiased admission examination known as the SHSAT. We faced the challenge of competing against other highly motivated students to earn a seat at eight public high schools that compete with the greatest schools in the country, public or private. There was no favoritism in the selection process and the results are a student body that is mostly minorities from economically disadvantaged families whose first language spoken at home is not English.

The City Council has introduced Resolution 0442-2014- Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign S.7738/ A.9979, to change the admissions criteria for New York City's Specialized High Schools. Oddly, the mayor, the UFT, and certain legislators believe that the rigorous SHSAT does not identify student achievement. Furthermore, they say that these schools “ do not look like New York City”. 

 The reality is that they want to gain control of who is admitted to these schools  and base it on things other than merit.

We believe the City Reolution is misguided. We urge Council Members to vote NO.

The sad reality is that certain minorities from certain parts of New York City are, indeed, underrepresented at these schools.  This is tragic and reflects poor public educational resources in these communities.  In 2013, only 16% of Black and Hispanic middle schoolers were high school ready as indicated by the New York State ELA/Math Assessment Tests. A disconcerting 84% of Black and Hispanic middle school students are not ready for regular high school work.  Less than 3% excel in standards for their grade and could be considered potential candidates for the specialized high schools.  With this abysmal treatment of students in these communities by the city, how can they have a chance to compete for these schools? 

It is not the SHSAT that is keeping certain students out of these schools; it’s a poor public school educational system. Those who do make it into the specialized high schools have the privilege to say they worked hard to navigate a muddled system.  They depended on themselves and family sacrifice to bolster their learning. The mostly lower to middle income students look towards the specialized high schools as a pathway to improve the status of their families.  They have taken advantage of a unique system that depends on how hard you work and what you know rather than who you are and who you know.

We support improving earlier education to increase the percent of underrepresented minorities who do better than just pass—less than 3% is too low!  We are against setting up an unobjective, manipulable admissions that takes away our control.

We ask that the SHSAT-only admission policy be preserved and Council Members to vote NO for supporting any other method that would take away merit, rigor, transparency and objectivity.



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