2018-03-14 / Front Page

Stavisky, Koo Call For SHSAT Prep Expansion

NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Council Member Peter Koo called for continued expansion of Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) preparation programs, expanding opportunity for children in all districts to pass the test. NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Council Member Peter Koo called for continued expansion of Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) preparation programs, expanding opportunity for children in all districts to pass the test. NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Council Member Peter Koo (D-Flushing) called for continued expansion of Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) preparation programs in order to better diversify the eight specialized high schools.

The Department of Education released data on citywide high school admissions, including specialized high schools. While nearly 400 more students took the SHSAT this year, the number of offers to black and Latino students was consistent with last year.

“Diversity is our city’s greatest asset, but unfortunately that diversity is not reflected in our specialized high schools. However, I strongly believe abolishing the SHSAT is not a solution. Since its inception, the test remains the most objective way of admitting students to specialized high schools, but we must ensure students have greater access to the tools needed to excel at this exam. I am calling on the city to make a bigger commitment by expanding their initiatives to increase diversity at our specialized high schools,” Senator Stavisky said.

In 2015 the Research Alliance for New York City schools, an independent, respected affiliate of NYU, issued a study which concluded that “admitting students on more varied measures would do little to address the lack of diversity in these schools, and could make the problem even worse.” Studies by the NYC comptroller and the Independent Budget Office came to a similar conclusion.

“The best way to make sure specialized high school admissions reflect the diversity of our city is by ensuring every family—no matter their race, color or financial status—has the opportunity to prepare their child for an advanced education. Many parents invest significant time and energy to make sure their kids make the grade for specialized high schools, and the city should do everything in its power to encourage every child to maximize their academic potential,” Council Member Koo said.  

This year, the city Department of Education expanded outreach efforts to reach eligible participants in the DREAM program—a free after school program that prepares students for the SHSAT. In 2017, 670 students participated in the DREAM program, more than double the participation in 2016.

The DOE also announced it will expand the SHSAT School Day initiative to 50 middle schools, up from 15 this admissions cycle. The program offers the test during the school day and last year resulted in an increase in the number of students testing at those schools by more than 50 percent.

Stavisky also proposed expanding the Gifted and Talented test for students in pre-K through second grade. Parents would have the ability to opt their child out of the test. As it stands, the gifted and talented exam is an opt-in system, requiring parents to sign their child up for the test.

“It is unfair, both to the child and the parent, that gifted and talented offerings vary from school district to school district,” Stavisky said. “This mandate would ensure any child with the potential to excel in advanced classes has access to them. It shouldn’t matter if you live in South Jamaica or the Upper West Side, every child has the right to an exceptional education.”

 

 

 

 


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