Monday, February 27, 2012

to be black at stuyvesant high...,

NYTimes | LIKE a city unto itself, Stuyvesant High School, in Lower Manhattan, is broken into neighborhoods, official and otherwise. The math department is on the 4th of its 10 floors; biology is on the 7th. Seniors congregate by the curved mint wall off the second-floor atrium, next to lockers that are such prime real estate that students trade them for $100 or more. Sophomores are relegated to the sixth floor.

In Stuyvesant slang, the hangouts are known as “bars.” Some years ago, the black students took over the radiators outside the fifth-floor cafeteria, and the place soon came to be known as the “chocolate bar,” lending it an air of legitimacy in the school’s labyrinth of cliques and turfs.

It did not last long. This year, Asian freshmen displaced the black students in a strength-in-numbers coup in which whispers of indignation were the sole expression of resistance. There was no point arguing, said Rudi-Ann Miller, a 17-year-old senior who came to New York from Jamaica and likes to style her hair in a bun, slick and straight, like the ballerina she once dreamed of becoming.

“The Asian kids, they’re just everywhere,” she said.

When the bell rings and the school’s 3,295 students spill out of classrooms into the maze of hallways, escalators and stairs like ants in a farm, blacks stand out because they are so rare. Rudi was one of 64 black students four years ago when she entered Stuyvesant, long considered New York City’s flagship public school. She is now one of 40.

Asians, on the other hand, make up 72.5 percent of Stuyvesant’s student body (they are 13.7 percent of the city’s overall public school population), a staggering increase from 1970, when they were 6 percent of Stuyvesant students, according to state enrollment statistics. Back then, white students made up 79 percent of Stuyvesant’s enrollment; this year, they are 24 percent, and 14.9 percent systemwide.

Hispanic students are 40.3 percent of the system. Currently, they make up 2.4 percent of Stuyvesant’s enrollment, while blacks, who make up 32 percent of the city’s public school students, are 1.2 percent.

New York City has eight specialized high schools whose admission is based entirely on the results of an entrance exam, a meritocratic system that does not consider race or ethnicity. The top score on the exam is 800. In recent years, the cutoff for Stuyvesant has been around 560; Rudi scored 594.

Earning a spot at Stuyvesant is unquestionably a badge of honor, sort of a secret knock to an exclusive club. As high school admissions decisions are revealed across the city in the coming week, many people are concerned that it is a club that black students — and, to a similar extent, Latinos — have an increasingly hard time cracking.

No one claims that the disparity is caused by overt discrimination. But in a school that is devised to attract the best of the best, parents and educators alike find the demographics troubling. It has become a question of perception as to who belongs.

The school’s parent coordinator, Harvey Blumm, said that when he visited middle schools whose enrollments were overwhelmingly black and Latino, it was not uncommon to find students who had never heard about the specialized high school exam; or to meet students who had signed up for the exam, but had never thought of taking a practice test or prep course — something common among white and Asian students; or to have guidance counselors tell him that Stuyvesant “isn’t for our kids.”


Big Don said...

Slightly OT:---The Finnish Bell Curve -- data agrees nicely with TBC

nanakwame said...

Folks co-relations are always attempting to prove a theory. At one time to be middle class vs bourgeois and bohemian was to have family and Church, that became  the mantra of  Western financial capitalism and used in the great Homestead Act 1862 and the taking of up to 160 acres for each. The tradition was broken after 160 years seen in the housing bubble, when "homes" was used as credit. Now urban bohemian has returned and this, making a return of pre-1800's: 

Uglyblackjohn said...

Dude, I went to BYU-Hawaii and was one of six Black males (the other five were on basketball scholarships) with three Black females.
Since I grew up in a suburb in a nice part of So-Cal, all those Utah mama's boys had no idea of how to deal with me.
I didn't mind it at all - it was fun watching those kids learning how to interact with other cultures,

CNu said...

I was the third Black student ever admitted to the Wichita John Birch Society indoctrination academy which had been compelled to integrate in order to keep its not-for-profit status. I got into fights at least weekly until it became clear to one and all that that the investment was yielding  some very ugly returns.

Makheru Bradley said...

To be Black at Princeton:

ken said...

No one claims that the disparity is caused by overt discrimination. But in a school that is devised to attract the best of the best, parents and educators alike find the demographics troubling. It has become a question of perception as to who belongs.
I wonder if this school is still letting the kids run wild with their cuddle puddles in the halls. Maybe certain groups aren't as hip as others to the freedom the children are enjoying.

CNu said...

Uh.., Bro. Makheru - what's the punchline here?

CNu said...

Corporal punishment was banned in N.Y. in 1985 - so very clearly public propriety, good order, and decorum have been going to hell-in-a-handbasket all across that state for 1 and 2/3rds generations now...,

nanakwame said...

I would not re-introduce corporal punishment in schools, there are others methods that aren't being tried for  have become a cookie cutters society and it is the worst thing for grammar school education.  And today based on your collapse premise ,why are we looking at quantity is beyond me?

CNu said...

Quantity of intelligent, educated and capable is always important. It's the useless and profligate oxygen thieves amusing themselves to death that gotta go, gotta go, gotta go....,

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