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Do not amend Specialized High School Admissions Process

This petition had 3,026 supporters

Students, parents, alumni, and supporters of the New York City Specialized High Schools: I call your attention to a proposal to the New York State Senate. NY lawmakers are attempting to replace our high standard admissions test with a low standard approach. Do not allow this to happen and sign this petition now!

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The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) is a critical aspect that characterizes our elite city schools. The SHSAT represents a standardized embodiment of how prepared a student is for the high level academic work that must be completed at Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, and other top schools. This high difficulty level test measures our ability to use logic, connect points, understand rhetorical contexts, and solve difficult problems. Changing the admissions process into these top schools will destroy the culture and undermine the history of our institutions.

The fundamental problem with racial disparity does not lie within the SHSAT and the issue that Bill A9979-2013 addresses will not be solved by amending the admissions process. By changing the admissions tests, the city is in some ways, reducing the difficulty of admissions into top schools. Furthermore, changing the admissions standards will only hurt the current students and alumni of specialized high schools and may discredit the integrity of our admissions process.

The SHSAT tests important skills that each student attending our elite high schools is required to have. The strategy that is being discussed in Bill A9979-2013 can be characterized as affirmative action, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “positive discrimination”. By allowing a student to be admitted based on the merit that the student is from a minority group is a discriminatory procedure that creates a biased approach to admissions. Someone who is less qualified to attend is more likely to fail or drop out than someone who is able to endure the academic extremes found in specialized high schools.

The problems with racial disparity lies within middle schools that have lower attendance rates and lower test scores from large minority regions. To address these problems, programs should be instituted to train inner city teachers, increase access to resources to help students prepare for the exam, launch awareness programs regarding the test, and expand the Discovery program.

So, if you believe, as I do, that the SHSAT is a more effective measurement than what is proposed in Bill A9979-2013, please vote against the bill and find an alternative way to improve the broken education system in New York City’s middle schools.

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