NEW YORK - There was outrage last spring when just seven black students were offered admission to Stuyvesant High School. But as middle schoolers prepare to take the entry exam for Stuyvesant and seven other elite public high schools, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza warns little is likely to change.
"The public should not be surprised that you're going to get the same results. It's not the students -- it's the process, it's the policy that's the problem," Carranza said.
That policy is using the high-stakes Specialized High School Admissions Test to decide who gets admitted. Carranza and Mayor de Blasio blame the test for the schools being disproportionately Asian American and white. Carranza isn't alone in believing the lack of diversity will continue.
"I expect that to be pretty much the same story this coming year. It doesn't seem equitable that we have a system that has so many students that we think are talent ted of all race and ethnic backgrounds and wind up with a population attending these schools that systematically under-represents black and Latino students," said Aaron Pallas, a professor of education at Teachers College at Columbia University.
De Blasio's push to change the state law requiring the test faced outrage from alumni and Asian American groups -- and died in Albany. So the test will remain for at least another year. Most students will take it on the last weekend in October.
"We have continued to really increase our outreach for communities, especially underrepresented communities," Carranza said.
That includes phone calls, e-mails, information sessions and school fairs, including Spanish-language fairs that began last year. The city also offered free test-prep to low-income students through its Dream Program. And under its Discovery Program, the city will set aside 20% of the seats for students at high-poverty schools who score just below the exam's cut-off. That's up from 13 percent last school year.
But those programs have done little to move the needle - last March, just 30 percent of the Discovery students admitted were black or Hispanic.
"People shouldn't be surprised if you get the same kinds of really, really unacceptable results, because there's a policy that excludes many many children in our city," Carranza said.
Students can register for the test at myschools.nyc.
The deadline to register is Thursday.