New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took issue with a racial bias complaint filed Thursday against eight local high schools, telling WNBC-TV, “Life isn’t always fair.”
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed the complaint against the city saying the admissions test used for eight specialized high schools in the area is biased against Black and Latino students, citing U.S. Education Department statistics showing that among the 967 students offered a spot at the most sought-after school, Stuyvesant High School, only 19 were Black and 32 were Latino.
According to The New York Times, about 70 percent of public school students in the city are Black or Latino.
“I refuse to believe there are only 19 brilliant African-Americans in the city; it simply cannot be the case,” NAACP attorney Damon T. Hewitt told the newspaper. “It is a shameful practice and it must be changed.”
At a press conference Thursday, Bloomberg defended the admissions process, saying it was not subjective, and designed for “the best and brightest” to get into schools like Stuyvesant.
Critics of the process also say many students of color aren’t prepared to handle the exam because of a lack of access to tutoring, a concern Bloomberg apparently did not want to discuss with WNBC.
“I don’t care what some people say,” Bloomberg told the station. “Life isn’t always fair. I don’t know how you would take away the right to get tutoring, or how the public could pay for tutoring.”
However, the city’s public school district does pay for tutoring for about 2,000 gifted students of color who live in low-income households.
WNBC’s report on the complaint, aired Thursday, can be seen below.
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