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Public Forum on Specialized High School Controversy

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February 2, 2015
CONTACT: Phil Orenstein 718-465-2481

Free Public Forum on Specialized High School Controversy

Date: Thursday, Feb 5th, 2015
Time: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Place: Knights of Columbus, 263-15 Union Tpke., Glen Oaks, NY

Bronx ScienceNew York City’s Specialized High Schools, including Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, Stuyvesant High School and six others have produced dozens of Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, and world leaders. A quarter of their graduates get accepted at Ivy League colleges. Students attending these world class schools study hard and travel long distances, to be in the company of 1000’s of fellow strivers for excellence, in an enriched educational environment that pushes each one’s learning envelope to their full potential.

Our Specialized High Schools and the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) are at the center of a raging controversy, an emotional issue for many parents and students throughout New York City. The Queens Village Republican Club presents a public forum on the “Specialized High School Controversy” on Thursday, Feb 5th, at 7:30 pm at the Knights of Columbus, 263-15 Union Tpke., Glen Oaks, Queens. Education is the gateway to the American Dream, and this forum presents an opportunity to help us understand both sides of this nonpartisan issue that is dividing the city. It’s also an opportunity to clarify the mission of our Specialized High Schools and to learn what they have to offer our children.

The controversy centers on whether the admissions requirements should be reformed from the time-honored SHSAT entrance exam to a multi-criteria admissions process. A panel of experts, students and alumni, representing both sides will cover all relevant topics of the issue.

Critics of the SHSAT as the sole criterion claim that it discriminates against poor black and Hispanic students. While Asians represented 53% of over 5000 students accepted at the special schools last year, only 5% were blacks and 7% Hispanic. They want to expand the admission criteria to include attendance, grade point average, other test scores and subjective evaluations. This they believe is one way to achieve more diversity in the Specialized High Schools, because as Mayor de Blasio describes it, the “schools don’t look like New York.”

The advocates for keeping the SHSAT as the only entrance criterion believe it is the only fair measure of high achievement. They support a system based upon reward for merit, not race or class, where high scholastic achievement and academic excellence are justly promoted. Reforming the process would lower the standards at the expense of poor and working class Asian immigrant students.

There will be a lengthy question and answer session following the panel presentations, as well as program handouts and other informative materials. The media is invited to attend.

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