Blacks Have Huge Underrepresentation at New York City’s Elite Public High Schools

New York City operates eight elite high schools where admission is based on the results of a two and a half hour qualifying examination. In 2007, 21,490 students took the qualifying examination and 20 percent of all test takers were offered a position at one of the elite high schools. Students who achieve academic success at these elite high schools are on track for admission to the nation’s most selective colleges and universities.

But the results showed that only 6 percent of black students who took the examination were offered a place at one of the eight high schools. In contrast, 35 percent of Asian-American students and 31 percent of white students who took the exam were offered a spot at an elite high school. Blacks make up 32 percent of all public school students in the city.

At the city’s most elite high schools, the racial disparities are even greater. At Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan, which specializes in mathematics, science, and technology, only 2 percent of black applicants were accepted compared to 72 percent of Asian-American applicants. At the Bronx High School of Science, blacks are only 4 percent of the 2,800-member student body.