NYT last weekend has 2 opinions, pro and con on mayor DiBlasi’s attempt to change the admission standards for elite high schools in NYC. It’s standard arguments by liberal intelligentsia on both sides trying to be reasonable, yet totally missing the point. The fact is student population at Stuyvesant is less than 5% African American, and more than 60 % Asian, or more precisely, more than 50% Chinese American. I myself have mixed feelings on this topic, as I attended a public HS in the early 60s that’s 75% Blacks and Puerto Ricans and still managed to get in an Ivy League school. My son attended Stuyvesant and hated it with the 3 hours round trip commuting and lack of sleep, and I regretted pushing him to attend it.
The conflict pits Chinese American community against African American and Hispanic communities with charges of discrimination, quotas, and diversity arguments flying back and forth. Obvious it has implication on the Ivy League schools’ admission policy with regard to the limits on Chinese students. I am in favor of some form of affirmative action as China do by adding 20 points to minority nationality students in their college entrance exams and actively trying to eliminate poverty in those areas. The question here is why the education system here is failing students except in some of the elite schools? It’s certainly not the financing or teachers per se. If we go into the deeper reasons, whether it be income inequality, residential segregation, family values, or residual effects of slavery, we can’t avoid going into the big elephant in the room, Capitalism and profit motive, which nobody wants to touch. Liberals are losing to Trumpism by emphasizing politically correctness, standing on high ground and looking down on the deplorables while losing the cultural war.
DiBlasi’s proposal whether it passes the state legislatures will not solve the problem, but it will visually soothe some feelings while structurally left the system in tact. Chinese parents can easily skirt it by enrolling their children in low performing middle schools and saving them a bundle by not needing those cram courses, and they will automatically be granted entry to elite schools being in the top 10%. 10 years from now there will be another outcry on why elite schools are still predominantly Chinese and new proposals restricting enrollments to neighborhood middle schools or segregation will be enacted.