Repeal NY's racist specialized high school law now!

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The 1971 Hecht-Calandra Act is a racist state law that protects a racist admissions policy designed to limit the number of Black and Brown students at New York City's specialized high schools.

The Hecht-Calandra Act was passed in order to subvert school integration efforts by mandating the use of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) at Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech. The SHSAT is an inaccurate and arbitrary measure of intelligence and talent that is not based on the public school curriculum.

No other public school district in the U.S. admits students to any public school based solely on a single exam score because everywhere else in the country understands that no one test can measure a student’s potential. What it can measure? A student’s access to test prep and resources. 

Because of Hecht-Calandra:

  • This year, out of 760 spots, only 10 Black students and 20 Latinx students were accepted into Stuyvesant High School, the most selective in the city.
  • Staten Island Tech has as many Black students in 2020 as Little Rock Central in 1957: nine.
  • Black and Latinx students together make up just 10% of specialized high school students, despite comprising 67% of all public school students.
  • Families with outsize access to private test prep and "feeder" middle schools have a major advantage on the SHSAT; those families are disproportionately not Black or Latinx.
  • Each of the 8 specialized high schools ranks in the top 12% for the most affluent student bodies among NYC public schools.

We call on the New York State Assembly, Senate, and Governor Cuomo to #RepealHechtCalandra. This racist law means that New York City’s schools are highly segregated and deeply unequal in resources. Black and Latinx students deserve access to high quality education. All students deserve an equitable and integrated education.


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