5,100 eighth graders have been offered admission to one of the city's eight elite public high schools, but a relatively small number of those students are black and Hispanic despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's push to make the elite schools more diverse. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
There's a high-stakes test to get into one of the city's eight specialized high schools.
On Wednesday, 926 students were offered a spot at Stuyvesant, considered the most elite of the schools. Just 13 of those students are black. That's 1 percent of the offers, though nearly 30 percent of all the system's students are black.
"Some people don't have the opportunity to have test prep," said Aditi Haiman, a current student at Stuyvesant High School. "Like, I had test prep, which helped a lot to get in."
The numbers of black and Hispanic students attending Stuyvesant and the other elite high schools has been declining for 20 years. Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a promise to improve the numbers, which are based on a single test mandated by the state. But three years later, the numbers haven't changed. The specialized schools continue to serve mostly white and Asian students.
"I don't believe it's because the kids don't have the skills. I think it's very discriminatory the way they do the practice of getting kids in," said Sanayi Beckles-Canton, president of Community Education Council in Harlem.
This year, 53 percent of the students offered a slot at one of the eight elite schools are Asian. 28 percent are white, 7 percent Hispanic and just 4 percent black.
It's nearly the same as last year, despite the de Blasio administration's efforts to offer more free test prep, and encourage more students to take the test, in an effort to diversify the elite schools.
"I'm hesitant to say awareness and prep alone can solve the problem. However, they are critical to any effort to solve the problem," said Ryan Baxter of Promoting Access to Specialized Schools in New York City.
The situation at Brooklyn Tech, the largest specialized school, shows just how hard it is to come up with a solution.
The city put the school on a corrective action plan last year after students reported racist comments by other students and faculty. Some students were suspended, all teachers had to undergo sensitivity training and frustrated alumni met with the principal.
School leaders committed to helping more black children earn admission. But Wednesday, fewer black students were accepted. a nearly 25 percent decline since last year.