New figures reflect lack of diversity at elite New York City high schools

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New statistics on admissions to New York City's elite high schools are intensifying the debate over racial diversity.

Only seven black students were offered admission to Stuyvesant High School's freshman class of 895 students.

And the numbers are similar for other elite schools that use entrance exams to determine who gets admitted.

The figures are Stuyvesant are not a surprise, with only seven blacks out of 895 freshmen, 10 last year, and 13 the year before.

"It's abysmal, it's an atrocity what's happening in terms of education," said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

The city's new Public Advocate wants a conversation with Mayor Bill de Blasio about how to change admissions to the city's eight elite high schools.

This year at those top schools, 51 percent were Asian, 28.5 percent white, 6.6. percent Latino, and just 4 percent black.

Outside Stuyvesant we talked with students, and most of them cited years of tutors, hard work and prep testing. So for them, a single high-stakes test wasn't so scary.

"Nah, honestly I thought it was pretty easy but I received a lot of tutoring because my parents can pay for that," said Stuyvesant senior Amit Puthan.

"And I don't think it's we have the money to prep but there were a lot of Asian people in my prep school and they weren't as well off but they spent a lot of money to prep," said Stuyvesant senior Feras Roumie.

The mayor wants to do away with that single test for admission. But many warn it's important. They ask, why not keep it and add other criteria?

Jumaane Williams went to Brookyn Tech, one of the eight elite.

"The reason I refuse to accept any proposal that gets rid of the test entirely is because someone like me would not have gotten in," said Williams.

"Like I've heard very little about adding things and I've heard more just scrapping the test and that's not a solution," said Stuyvesant senior Ariel Glazman.

The mayor and chancellor have said they want to improve all schools and not focus so much on the elite eight, but until something changes, the student body at those great schools will remain more than 80 percent white and Asian.

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