The New York City Department of Education plan to announce an initiative to get black and Hispanic students admitted into the top high schools in the city. There are 8 specialized high schools in the city and some only accept students based only on their scores on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. According, to The New York Times, 68% of black and Hispanic student make up the city’s public school students, but only make up 11% of the students attend these prestigious schools. While Asian students make up approximately 54% of those accepted, and whites 27%.

The city cannot change the admission process at the schools, only the State Legislature can implement these changes. Mayor Bill de Blasio goal is to diversify the students by giving them a better opportunity to get them pass obstacles.“Our specialized high schools need to better reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods and our city while maintaining their high standards, and this strong package of reforms is an important step forward,” said Mayor de Blasio.

The city plans on offering free tutoring sessions and test prep through after school programs to prepare students for the assessment tests. Since, black and Latinos students take the test at lower rate compared to white and Asian students. The Department of Education will hire outreach workers to get more students from underrepresented groups. Also, the city will have admission testing during the school day at five pilot schools, instead of asking students to travel to another school’s testing site on the weekend.

The city’s initiative will cost $15 million over the next four years. The program is set start this summer to prep students for the October test. Back in 2012 The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund issued a complaint stating that the schools admission process is “racially biased.” Earlier this year, a group of Democratic state legislators noticed the lack of diversity among specialized schools and presented their own initiative as well.

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Source:The New York Times

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