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UFT Pushes for More Diversity in City Schools

UFT Pushes for More Diversity in Schools

The United Federation of Teachers has taken a stand in increasing diversity in city schools and ensuring every child has access to the best education possible.

The UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds said New York City "is a beacon for immigrants, yet our schools are among the most segregated in the nation," in an article on UFT.org.

The problem, Hinds said, "is especially prevalent in the city’s eight specialized high schools, where admittance is determined by a single admissions test and where the student body is predominantly drawn from a small group of middle schools."

“Today, our union is once again taking a strong stand in the name of increasing diversity in our city schools — and that means ensuring that every child, regardless of background, race or economic status, has access to the best educational opportunities our public schools have to offer,” Hinds said.

The issue, the article said, was presented before the council "after reports showed New York City schools were becoming more racially isolated, meaning students from one race constitute 75 percent or more of the student population."

"The situation is especially acute in districts in northern Manhattan and central Brooklyn," said the article. "In addition, few blacks and Latinos are being admitted to the city’s elite high schools, although they represent 70 percent of city students."

In response, Hinds "spearheaded the UFT’s Specialized High School Task Force, which recommended a series of reforms last March to improve students’ access to the specialized high schools."

The organization ensures that "students in every middle school be pre-registered for the entrance exam [with an opt-out option]; ensuring every middle school student and family know about the admissions test; expanding test preparation programs; expanding the summer Discovery Program that allows 'disadvantaged' students who narrowly miss the cutoff score for admission to be accepted after taking and passing a summer course; and broadening admissions criteria beyond the current one-day test," according to UFT.org.

“The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is far from the objective measure unyielding to political pressure that its supporters claim it to be,” said Hinds.

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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