Things That Matter

Data Shows New York City’s Most Elite High Schools Are Also The Most Segregated

On the heels of the college admissions scandal highlighted the class divide in accessing higher education, new data reveals a similar story for some trying to get to into elite high schools. A report by the New York Times shows Latino and Black students make up 70 percent of New York’s public school students, but only 10 percent are admitted to the city’s eight specialized high schools. Stuyvesant High School, one of the city’s most selective schools, has gotten the most attention for admitting only seven Black students and 33 Latino students out of the 895 students of next year’s freshman class.

In total, about six percent of the offers from New York City’s top schools were reportedly handed out to Latino students and four percent were offered to black students. The report has started a conversation on how to racially integrate the city’s elite high schools.

At issue in the admissions process is a test called the Specialized High School Admissions Test(SHSAT), which helps determine placement.

Credit: NY Times

Each year, the eight high schools admit close to 4,000 freshmen from a pool of nearly 30,000 eighth-graders who take the Specialized High School Admission Test. As of now, students are accepted on how well they perform on those test. Students spend months prepping for the test in hopes of getting into one of these elite schools.

Stuyvesant is the toughest school to get admitted to and also has the highest cutoff score for admission. Due to these factors, the school also has the lowest percentage of Black and Latino students of any of New York City’s roughly 600 public high schools.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed replacing the exam with a system based on middle-school class ranks and statewide standardized test scores.

“Can anyone look the parent of a Latino or Black child in the eye and tell them their precious daughter or son has an equal chance to get into one of their city’s best high schools?” de Blasio wrote in an op-ed for Chalkbeat. “You can’t write a single test that captures the full reality of a person.”

But there has yet be any progression towards anything being done to change this testing system. Yet the recently released numbers show the growing disparity of those getting a great education compared to those, mainly Latino and Blacks students, that aren’t.

The admissions statistics highlight the enormity of education inequity at New York City’s top high schools.

While the dismal statistics show a harsh reality for many minorities in the city, others say the issue needs to be carefully approached. Some have speculated that the high numbers of Asian-American students, who make up the majority of the school popuilation, would be reduced to make space for more Latino and Black students.

John Liu, a state senator from the borough of Queens who chairs the Senate’s New York City education committee, told the NY Times. “A desegregation plan can only be effective if the problem is viewed as a whole, and one that is not formulated to the total exclusion of Asian-Americans.”

Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out the elite Stuyvesant High School for their low admittance numbers.

Among those who that have spoke on the dismal admission numbers is Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The Bronx congresswoman took to Twitter to express her displeasure with the alarming report.

“[Sixty-eight percent] of all NYC public school students are Black or Latino,” Ocasio tweeted. “To only have 7 Black students accepted into Stuyvesant tells us that this is a system failure. Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap. This is what injustice looks like.”

Broad change is desperately needed in the New York City public school system.

Credit: Getty Images

If the admission system is failing students of color from getting quality education. there might be a greater problem here. While one side wants to overhaul to admission system, the other warns it’ll heavily affect the current population of students attending these schools.

The issue is being played out in the largest school district in the country, which enrolls almost one million children. It also highlights the larger issue of education inequality being discussed across the country, both in K-12 and in higher education.

At a town hall this past Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez, state senators, and education activists took part in a discussion about improving public schools. While Ocasio-Cortez didn’t take a stance on overhauling the admission system, she asked why all public city schools don’t have similarly quality reputations as the elite high schools.

“Why isn’t every public school in New York City a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “Every one should be.”

READ: The College Cheating Scandal Highlights The Different Paths Many Face Getting To College

According To This Fox News Host, AOC’s District Is Dirty Because Of Undocumented Immigrants

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According To This Fox News Host, AOC’s District Is Dirty Because Of Undocumented Immigrants

Tucker Carlson and guest Seth Barron continued to espouse their conspiracy theory-driven worldviews on his nightly Fox News show, this time targeting the residents of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district. Carlson mocked AOC’s support of the clean energy bill, the Green New Deal, claiming that the areas of Queens and The Bronx she represents are not “clean.” 

The conservative news editor Barron then piled on saying the high percentage of undocumented immigrants in her districts is why they are “dirty.” The comments were immediately met with criticism and accusations of racism from members of AOC’s camp and other advocates. 

Carlson says AOC’s district is dirtier than others. 

“We’re connoisseurs of irony on this show, but if you claim to care about the environment, you’d think that the little piece of America you’re responsible for, that you represent in the Congress, would be clean but hers isn’t. Why?” Carlson asked of AOC during the segment.

The suggestion that AOC’s district NY-14 is dirtier than other neighborhoods is rooted in racism, not just because they’re targets of racism but because the reasons those neighborhoods might appear less tidy is racism. It has been well documented that the less affluent and white a neighborhood the less the state will invest in maintaining its appearance. Low-income neighborhoods are often the targets of dumps and hazardous waste sites

According to research by the University of Michigan, “Several decades of research in the field of environmental justice has established clear patterns of racial and socioeconomic disparities in the distribution of a large variety of environmental hazards. Hazardous waste sites, polluting industrial facilities and other locally unwanted land uses are disproportionately located in nonwhite and poor communities.”

This October the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest released a report claiming low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens, where some districts are represented by AOC, have become the reluctant receptacles of private waste haulers. 

“Private waste companies increased their use of truck-based transfer stations by 35 percent, with 81 percent of all commercial trash hauled through these stations via truck, the report asserts,” according to the Queens Daily Eagle. “The locations where they stations are, however, such as Southeast Queens, the South Bronx, and Northern Brooklyn, have left residents complaining about the strong smell, air pollution and road hazards from the increased number of trucks.”

Perhaps, this is the reason why AOC supports clean energy and sustainability initiatives: they are in the best interest of her district’s constituents. However, Barron claims that AOC’s district is just downright un-American. 

Barron claims the reason AOC’s district is dirty is because of undocumented immigrants.

“Well, part of the reason is because her district is actually one of the least American districts in the country,” Barron quickly responded. “And by that, I don’t mean that it’s not part of America, but it’s occupied by relatively few American citizens. A very high percentage of her district is, in fact, illegal aliens.”

According to the Huffington Post, there is little evidence that the immigrants who live in AOC’s district are there illegally or that undocumented immigrants, who commit fewer crimes than citizens, are somehow dirtier. Barron said undocumented immigrants ruin the environment by pouring pig grease, which is organic matter and biodegradable, into gutters. 

“So they wind up producing a lot of garbage that the landlords don’t want thrown out normally,” he said. “So hence, you wind up with a lot of garbage on the streets. You have illegal food vendors pouring their pig grease into the gutters. I mean I worked out there, it can be a little gross.”

This year Carlson came under fire for defending child rape and convicted child rapists, calling women “extremely primitive,” and saying he felt “sorry for unattractive women.” Carlson, along with Fox News has seemingly been bleeding advertisers during the Trump era largely due to revelations about intra-company sexual assault, sexist comments, and offensive remarks about immigrants.  

Critics respond to Carlson’s anti-immigrant remarks.

Former AOC strategist WaleedShahid said Carlson was “broadcasting the oldest variety of anti-immigrant bulls**t: ‘they’re dirty'” to target the popular congresswoman. 

Many thinkers on the left called Carlson’s and Fox News racist for the anti-immigrant views they espouse. 

“Every citizen is 100% American no matter where they’re from,” said Young Turks host Cenk Uygur. “This is what GOP thinks of the rest of us—dirty immigrants. Then they wonder why we think they’re racists.”

Barron later tried to defend his attack claiming that 46.2 percent of AOC’s district is foreign-born and that proves his point. However, Mediaite notes, “It is completely false for Barron to imply foreign-born immigrants are also undocumented or are not US citizens. Notably, the Trump administration abandoned its attempts to add a citizenship question to the census this past summer, after losing a high-profile Supreme Court fight.”

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Calls Out Media For Painting AOC As Representative Of Democratic Party

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Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Calls Out Media For Painting AOC As Representative Of Democratic Party

ocasio2018 / joebiden / Instagram

Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden answered a question about Medicare for All by pivoting blame on the media, saying AOC is “a bright, wonderful person,” but not representative of the Democratic party as a whole. “You guys got it all wrong about what happened,” Biden told journalist Mike Allen on Axios on HBO. “You sound like Trump. Fake News,” Allen pointedly responded. Initially, Biden agreed, but then went on to reframe what Trump calls “Fake News” as simply “bad judgment.” Biden claims that the media’s assertion that “AOC was the new party” were “all wrong,” and that the Democratic party and its voters are not ready to relinquish private health insurance and adopt Medicare for all. 

“Come on, man,” Joe Biden implored the journalist to see his perspective.

CREDIT: AXIOS on HBO / YouTube

In a teaser trailer for Axios on HBO’s interview with presidential candidate Joe Biden, his view on the media took center stage. In fact, journalist Mike Allen prompted Biden’s response by asking if Medicare for all is “political suicide.” Before Allen could finish his sentence, Biden interrupts to chuckle, “The party’s not there at all.” Allen asserts that “Some of your opponents are,” but Biden doesn’t bite. He continues to state, “Yeah, but the party’s not there. You know the numbers. You guys got it all wrong about what happened.”

“You sound like Trump. Fake news.” Allen posits. “I do. No, look, it’s not fake, it’s just bad judgment,” Biden responds in an attempt to differentiate the semantics around a presidential candidate attempting to discredit negative media criticism. “You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the left after Hillary,” Biden added, referencing media stories that “AOC was the new party.” He goes on to add that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is “a bright, wonderful person, but where’s the party? Come on, man.”

However, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll shows that “a slight majority of Americans say they favor [“Medicare-for-all”].”

CREDIT: KFF HEALTH TRACKING POLL (NOVEMBER 7-12, 2019)

The poll results, published just last month, states that “overall, a majority of Democrats and about half of independents favor a national Medicare-for-all plan while most Republicans oppose.” The only dissent boils down to misinformation about the existing proposals on the table. KFF polling found that Americans “know little about how the leading Medicare-for-all proposals would reshape the way all Americans get and pay for health care, and public support for Medicare-for-all shifts significantly when people hear arguments about potential tax increases or delays in medical tests and treatment.” 

The “what” is settled. The majority of Americans want Medicare-for-all. The “how” is still up for debate, and what Americans hope to see settled on the debate stage. The KFF polling found that Americans are more likely to support “incremental changes to expand the public health insurance program” rather than completely replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and private health insurance altogether with an entirely new proposal. The polling makes it clear that Democrats are far beyond the question of whether or not to expand public health care. They want to understand how their candidates-of-choice will expand public health care.

Biden’s top opponents, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have campaigned on Medicare-for-All.

CREDIT: AXIOS on HBO / YouTube

In fact, the same KFF poll found that Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign was what tilted Americans toward a majority favorability of government healthcare. “This is America. You should not go bankrupt because you’re diagnosed with a serious illness,” 2020 Democratic hopeful, Sanders, tweeted this week. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has endorsed Bernie Sanders for President, both of whom identify as Democratic Socialists. Both AOC and Sanders have a shared vision of free public college, guaranteed family leave, and free healthcare for all, often citing the successful examples of other European countries that offer those same solutions for basic human needs.

Thus far, the YouTube comments on the Axios on HBO trailer are telling. The top three comments, in order, are “Jose is the part of the party we’d like to leave behind tbh,” “Senile Grumpy Old Joe !!!!!!” and “‘you should vote for Trump’ – Joe Biden 2019.”

Most recently, AOC criticized Biden for asking Cory Booker to issue an apology for criticizing Biden’s insensitivities to Black history in the United States.

CREDIT: @ALXTHOMP / TWITTER

In June, Biden shared an anecdote that was meant to attest to his political diplomacy, about how he worked with segregationist Senators James Eastland and Herman Talmadge. Democratic hopeful Senator Cory Booker demanded an apology to the American people for paternalistic story during which Biden referred to Black men as “boys.” Booker’s demand for an apology has been outstanding since June 2019. “You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys,'” Booker said. 

In response, Biden said he didn’t have a “racist bone” in his body, saying the American people and elected officials should “know better,” adding, “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career. Apologize for what? Cory should apologize. He knows better.” AOC took to Twitter to shoot back, “For the record, Cory Booker does *not* owe Joe Biden an apology for pointing out that waxing nostalgic about working with segregationists is insensitive. ‘He knows better?’ Really? What is ‘better?’ To stay quiet about it?”

READ: Joe Biden Released A New Platform Regarding Puerto Rico And Hopes To See The Island Get The Respect It Deserves