New York City’s specialized high schools are beacons of learning and opportunity. Their students face a rigorous academic curriculum, including Advanced Placement classes that range from chemistry to art history. Students are exposed to diverse extracurricular activities from athletics to theater, from fencing to speech and debate. The schools boast higher graduation rates than the New York City average; graduates routinely go on to elite colleges and even have earned Nobel prizes and other high honors. However, under the arbitrary and outdated admissions formula that consists of a single multiple-choice test, many students of merit are denied access.
These specialized high schools, including Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, offer students from all backgrounds a promising future, but under the current process, an appallingly small number of minority students are admitted each year. In 2013, only 2.4 percent and 5.4 percent of students admitted to Bronx Science were Black and Latino, respectfully, yet Black and Latino students make up nearly 70 percent of New York City’s public school student body.