Press Release 4/28/15
Contact: David Lee – Executive Director
SHSAT Reform Bill Defeated in NYS Senate Education Committee
New York State Senate Bill S1787 which would have eliminated using the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) as the sole criteria for admission to the Specialized High Schools was defeated today by a vote in the state senate education committee saving the test for another year.
CoalitionEDU members which include alumni and parents lobbied committee members over the past year to convince them to vote against any change. CoalitionEDU collaborated with the heads of the Parent and Alumni Associations of Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science and Stuyvesant to send letters opposing the bill.
David Lee the executive director of CoalitionEDU also reached out to the Independent Democratic Conference members as well as State Republicans to enlist their help in reaching Republican members of the committee. “ They believe in objectivity and merit when it comes to the educational admissions process and raising the achievement level of all students” Lee said. The committee lead by Republican John Flanagan defeated the bill
For two consecutive years, legislators have introduced bills to eliminate the SHSAT as the sole criteria for admission to these schools. Critics have said that the test affects diversity at these schools where they are predominantly Asian. Proponents of the test say that the test does not look at race or wealth and that in fact there are far more low income students at the specialized high schools than at other elite multi-criteria screened schools. For example, only 28% of the students at Beacon High School and Eleanor Roosevelt High School, two selective criteria schools, receive free lunch as opposed to about 50% at Stuyvesant.
The State Assembly version of the bill was sponsored by Charles Barron, the progressive equal rights leader and Felix Ortiz, the assistant Speaker, among others. With the defeat in the Senate committee no further action is foreseen in the Assembly.
CoalitionEDU will continue to advocate for improving K-8 education in the public school system and for improving pathways to improve access to the Specialized High Schools.