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Kids from poorest neighborhoods left out of city’s elite schools


Kids from the city’s poorest neighborhoods in the Bronx and central Brooklyn also had the poorest chances of getting into specialized high schools, a Daily News investigation shows.


An analysis of city Education Department data revealed just 17 of roughly 32,550 students from Bronx District 9 landed seats in those elite public schools in 2018.


That’s just 0.05% of students in the district covering the Grand Concourse, Morrisania and Tremont sections of the Bronx — and the smallest percentage of any of the city’s 32 school districts.


It’s disturbing, but not unusual.


In fact, of the 10 districts with the fewest kids who were offered seats in the city’s eight specialized high schools, six were in the Bronx and four were in Brooklyn — all of them communities with high poverty rates and resource-starved public schools.


Bronx mother and activist Tracy Woodall said the data show that many of the schools in those areas — institutions charged with lifting kids out of poverty through education — are failing to deliver on their promise.

Admissions data for the 2018-19 school year shows Brooklyn’s District 32 had the smallest number of kids admitted to the elite schools, with just 10 of roughly 19,000 students offered seats.

(Leibowitz Kristy)


“It’s a shame,” Woodhall said. “These are the things we have to fight every day, and it’s not fair. We constantly have to be in fighting mode to get a better education.”


Mona Davids, a mom and president of the NYC Parents Union, agreed.


“Those districts, with high concentrations of poor black and Latino kids, are not preparing students for the specialized high schools,” she said. “It’s actually criminal how the city is destroying the futures of those kids.”


Eight of the city’s largest and most prestigious high schools — including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech — rely on a single specialized exam to admit students.


Mayor de Blasio campaigned on a pledge to broaden access to the schools but has so far failed to effect measurable change.

(From left to right): Jamar DeCosta, 9, Zidane Noble, 10, Shannon Dixon, 10, and Shemar DeCosta, 9, walk home from school with their grandpa on Castle Hill Ave. on Nov. 4, 2009.

(From left to right): Jamar DeCosta, 9, Zidane Noble, 10, Shannon Dixon, 10, and Shemar DeCosta, 9, walk home from school with their grandpa on Castle Hill Ave. on Nov. 4, 2009.

(Alvarez, Enid, New York Daily News/Alvarez, Enid, New York Daily News)


Across the city, black and Hispanic kids continue to account for about 10% of offers.


Admissions data for the 2018-19 school year shows Brooklyn’s District 32 — which represents Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant — had the smallest number of kids admitted to the elite schools, with just 10 of roughly 19,000 students offered seats.


But on the other end of the scale, Manhattan’s District 3 — which covers the West Side — saw 287 kids gain admission.


De Blasio declined to comment on those findings through a spokesperson. His rep also declined to comment, referring a request to the city Education Department.


Chancellor Richard Carranza, who started on the job Monday, also declined to comment, instead referring the matter to spokesman Douglas Cohen, who said the city has provided targeted outreach to specific districts.


“We know there is more work to do and remain dedicated to increasing the diversity of our specialized high schools,” Cohen said.

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