by Neetu Chandak
Asian-American parents and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against New York City officials Thursday over a plan that would increase admissions for black and Hispanic students to elite schools in the city.
Black and Hispanic students make up 68 percent of the city’s population with 9 percent receiving offers to attend specialized high schools. Asian-American students, however, make up 62 percent of the population at the city’s elite high schools, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The plan promoted by Mayor Bill de Blasio would set aside 20 percent of seats at each of the elite high schools for students coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds, according to WaPo.
Gaining admission into the specialized high schools is determined by a single test known as the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), a Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
De Blasio announced the Discovery Program’s expansion in June, which offers free tutoring to those who missed the cutoff for admissions and a second chance at being accepted, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“It unlawfully restricts equal access of tens of thousands of poor Asian-American children living outside high-poverty school districts to Specialized High Schools,” the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) said in a press statement Thursday.
AACE added some of the schools affected by the plan include Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Tech and Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School.
“Furthermore, this costly expansion (estimated at $550,000) is just another futile effort by de Blasio to mask his failures to improve K-8 education in black and Hispanic communities: under his watch, math and English proficiency rates among black and Latino students from grades 3 through 8 are less than 50% of performance levels among Asian and Caucasian American students,” the AACE press statement said.
“Our schools are academically stronger when they reflect the diversity of our City,” New York City’s Department of Education (NYCDOE) spokesman Will Mantell told TheDCNF.
Plaintiff and parent Yi Fang Chen believes the plan would make it harder for her two sons to get into the elite schools one day, according to WaPo.
“Diversity is a great thing, but do not lower the standards,” plaintiff Yi Fang Chen said, WaPo reported.
The case is being litigated by California-based group Pacific Legal Foundation. AACE is one of several groups in the lawsuit.
AACE previously supported Students for Fair Admissions’s (SFFA) trial against Harvard University, accusing the school of holding Asian-American applicants to higher standards in the admissions process.
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