He needed a lot of extra time, but Mayor de Blasio has finally finished the test and admitted the obvious: His terrible plan to get Albany to rejigger admissions at the city’s specialized high schools is dead.
It’s an embarrassment that, in a city where blacks and Hispanics make up 70% of the public school population, they constitute just 10% of the students at eight elite high schools. At the three most selective campuses, where admissions criteria are set by state law, blacks and Hispanics are even more vanishing minorities.
That’s an indictment of pre-K-to-8 classrooms that are supposed to be preparing all kids for excellence. It is not, however, an indictment of the test — which, while imperfect, doesn’t discriminate.
One problem is too few black and Hispanic kids take the exam. Another is too few properly prepare for it, while test preparation regimens largely serving whites and Asian-Americans have gotten ever more refined.
There’s nothing wrong with the mayor taking a fresh look at the exam itself and how it’s scored. We also support dramatically expanding the Discovery Program, which offers spots to kids who just miss the cutoff after an intensive summer program.
As for the admissions criteria de Blasio wanted to replace the SHSAT with, we’ll repeat what we said at the start of this saga: A school offering an accelerated, demanding education to the top 7% of students from each middle school, as measured through grades and state tests, would be swell. Create it.
Just don’t kill schools that are working in the same fell swoop.