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Specialized high school admissions

New York Teacher

Regarding “Stuy High and beyond” [Editorials, April 4]: Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to punish excellence and reward mediocrity by changing the admissions policy for the city’s specialized high schools. Perhaps your concern should be directed to the schools these less-gifted kids come from and not to where you would like them to go. If you want no inequity and total diversity in a society, I suggest you go to another planet.

Brian Dibbs, retired

As a UFT member for 12 years and a member of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators for 22 years, I would have always expected my union to support a merit system rather that a system based on identifying individuals with particular nebulous groups.

There are so many better ways to increase the number of students who gain the privilege of an enriched education: more specialized schools, more magnet programs within schools and more support for existing schools. This is 2019. We should be beyond pigeon-holing students into groups and continually reinforcing which groups can and which can’t.

In a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal, an author points out that in the 1980s, Brooklyn Tech was 59 percent minority and now it is far less. Why? Because we continually have reinforced the idea that students who belong to particular minority groups are outcasts in these schools. Many who could qualify don’t want to go for that reason.

It is unconscionable that your editorial makes no mention of the fact that fully qualified Asian students would have to step aside to make room for those less qualified. How does a union justify that?

A single test may not be the perfect measure of potential in this area, but no one has come up with a better way to identify the students with the most potential for success in this endeavor of study.

Howard Brenner, retired

As a retired teacher with more than 30 years in New York City high schools, I raise objection to this editorial on the grounds its intent is to water down the elite high schools. Nothing, to my thinking, is more ridiculous than to reserve a certain percentage of seats for those who are not qualified to occupy them. New York City “has the most segregated high schools in the country” because excellence takes precedence over skin color, religion or culture.

When 1 percent of “minorities” are accepted, something is terribly wrong. Rather than dilute the admissions requirements, stronger efforts must be made to improve students’ intellectual capabilities in the lower grades so they can pass the required tests.

Charles Cole, retired

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