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Life SHOULD be fair: Boro Prez on high school test

Bronx Times

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has a message for Mayor Bloomberg:

Life SHOULD be fairer when it comes to getting into the city’s elite high schools.

Diaz responded to Bloomberg’s recent quip that “life isn’t always fair” over the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s discrimination suit charging an admissions test at eight elite city high schools discriminates against blacks and Latinos.

“We’re not here about equal results. We’re here about equal opportunity,” Bloomberg said.

But Diaz, reporting eyeing a run for citywide Public Advocate, said that he was “perplexed” by Bloomberg’s “insensitive” comment.

“Is it possible Mayor Bloomberg neither appreciates nor comprehends the inequities at play when it comes to equal access to test preparation for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and educational opportunity as a whole in New York City?” Diaz asked.

“Moreover, the DOE has failed to understand what every major university in the country has recognized – that standardized test scores alone do not indicate the merit of a student or measure their academic abilities.”

He called relying solely on test scores for entry into specialized high schools wrong, doing “an enormous disservice to the thousands of worthy economically disadvantaged students.”

Diaz pointed to a report on the issue his office released in May, titled “An Action Plan for Fixing the Specialized High School Admissions Process,” which was cited in the NAACP law suit and attached to the complaint.

“The report documents declining numbers of Bronx students receiving offers to “our two most prestigious public high schools.”

“It evidences how an entire private industry of test preparation for the SHSAT has priced out the poor and does not service African-American and Latino communities,” said Diaz.

He applauded the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Latino Justice PRLDEF, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College and Garifuna Coalition, USA Inc., “for standing up for what is right.”

“In the Bronx, we have some of the brightest middle school students in the City, if not the nation,” said the borough president. “It is time for the Department of Education to stop placing artificial limits on enrollment and provide students in the Bronx and the City with the proper resources to make sure that their minds can thrive.”

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