The Civil Rights Wrong of Blaming Admissions Tests

Reflecting on a complaint against a New York City high school, Michael Meyers writes at the Huffington Post that "discrimination ain't what it used to be."

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Reflecting on a complaint against a New York City high school, Michael Meyers writes at the Huffington Post that "discrimination ain't what it used to be."

I am thinking hard and critically about a "civil rights" complaint taken to the United States Department of Education by the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF) and two other legal groups accusing New York City of practicing racial discrimination against black and Latino students by means of administering a single admissions test for its specialized high schools. According to the LDF complaint, such elite public high schools as Stuyvesant are discriminatory because not enough black and Hispanic students score high enough on the admissions test to gain admission.

The complaint sounds familiar -- but it doesn't ring true.

That's because the overwhelming majority of students (over 70%) at Stuyvesant -- the most elite of New York City's specialized public high schools -- are not whites but Asians. Citywide, of the 28,000 students who took the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) last year 5% of African Americans received offers; 6.7% were Hispanics; 30.6% were Caucasians; and 35% were Asians. Whites admitted to Stuyvesant scored far behind and below Asians, followed by Hispanics, followed closely by black admittees. That disproportionately higher admission rate for Asians (in a school system that is over 70% black and Hispanic), where the score on the single test is the admission ticket -- is discriminatory against blacks and Hispanics?

If so, discrimination ain't what it used to be -- even within the testing industry.

Read  Michael Meyers' entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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