NYT Blames Test-Prep Tutoring for Black, Latino Decline in Best Schools

Manhattan Charter School students watch the National Address to Students on Educational Success by U.S. President Barack Obama September 8, 2009 in New York City. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to students beforehand at a "My Education, My Future" event at the school. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty …
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The number of African-American students in New York’s selective high schools has crashed as more immigrant Asian students win seats — yet the problem is not the federal policy of mass immigration, says the New York Times.

The real cause is that fewer African-American and Latino students are enrolling in commercial cram courses, the newspaper insists:

For years, most who took the admissions test had little to no preparation. Today, test prep is a rapidly expanding local industry. At the same time, many accelerated academic programs in mostly black and Hispanic neighborhoods have closed as Asian immigrants have embraced the specialized high schools as tickets out of poverty.

As test prep has become all but a prerequisite over the last decade, advanced academic classes have evaporated for many black and Hispanic students.

The schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, play an outsized role in the city’s politics and culture because they have helped generations of clever working-class kids jump into the middle class. The article noted:

In interviews, more than a dozen black and Hispanic students who graduated from New York City’s specialized high schools from 1975 to 1995 described the schools as oases for smart children from troubled neighborhoods. But the alumni said they were anguished that the schools have since lost nearly all of their black and Hispanic students.

But the article’s graphics and the text undermine the ‘blame test-prep’ explanation.

Instead, the article reveals how the African-American and Latino shares of the schools have declined as the immigrant Asian share has risen.

The article’s text acknowledges the population shift:

White enrollment has also fallen while Asian enrollment has ballooned. Among the most drastic shifts: Brooklyn Technical High School’s black population dropped to 6 percent in 2016 from 51 percent in 1982 …

Black and Hispanic students currently represent 70 percent of the school system, but make up just 10 percent of the enrollment in the specialized schools.

From 1970 to 2011, the number of Asia-born immigrants living in New York City increased about eightfold to 843,000 from 105,000.

The New York Times article tries to hide another big shift amid the immigration — a huge drop in the share of school slots going to white students. For example, the percentage of white students in Stuyvesant fell from roughly 65 percent in 1976 to just 19 percent in 2016. During the same period, the percentage of black and Latino students fell from roughly 14 percent to just 4 percent, while the Asian percentage spiked to from roughly 17 percent to 74 percent.

While trying to blame test prep courses, the New York Times article tiptoes close to the central issue — immigration — which it indirectly and passively describes as “demographics.”

Since … 1978, the specialized school admissions process has been transformed by changes in the city’s demographics, its public school system and the culture around the schools’ entrance exam, which is at the center of the debate over the future of the elite schools.

Yet the city’s demographics are not a passive, inanimate thing, like gravity, earthquakes or the tides.

The city’s demographics are shaped by federal, state, and city policies, for example, which could try to encourage Americans to migrate to New York and to get married and have more kids.

But federal, state and city policies are instead encouraging the inflow of Asian immigrants, as part of the deliberate federal policy of stimulating the economy by legally importing 1 million foreign workers, consumers, and residents each year.

That huge foreign influx adds roughly one new legal immigrant for every four Americans who turn 18 each year. That influx is welcomed in New York City which has declared itself a “sanctuary city” to shield its roughly 500,000 cheap-labor illegal immigrant service workers from deportation. The illegal and legal cheap workers are a boon to the city’s elite, which gains cheaper services, higher rents and more wealth as more migrants crowd into the city’s labor market, apartments and groceries.

The federal policy also makes it difficult for Americans to have kids — especially in New York — because the flood of legal and illegal migrants cuts their wages and drives up their housing costs, especially for blue-collar Americans of every color and hue.

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