This is my first time writing a version of an op-ed, but after viewing the multitudes of reactions on Facebook regarding a certain topic I have debated countless times in the past, I felt compelled to express my own feelings. I was flabbergasted by the general consensus of my peers regarding this subject, and therefore believe that my two cents on the matter is required.
Earlier this week, a news article released by NY1 stated that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund was filing a civil rights complaint against the city in regards to a long contested issue-the fact finding a needle in a haystack would be an easier task than finding a black or Hispanic student in any of the specialized high schools in New York City.
Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Technical High Schools are almost universally considered the jewels of the city. Nearly 30,000 students, with numbers steadily increasing yearly, take the Specialized High School Exam, or SHSAT, every October or November. I myself can easily recall the years I spent dashing to SHSI (the Specialized High School Institute) every Tuesday afternoon when school ended and waking up early Saturday mornings to attend the program, grueling over practice exams while secretly pining for the comfort of my bed. My parents even managed to find the means, like many other Bengali families, to pay for private tutoring at the infamous Khan’s Tutorial, where (at that time) a $70 a class fee was bartered in exchange for a teacher, who was usually a student at one of these specialized high schools, who drilled skills into our heads, the knowledge of which were mandatory in order to succeed in achieving a high score on the exam. The day came when I got my results; I was both anxious and fearful as I ripped apart the envelope that my guidance counselor handed me.
“Congratulations! You are being offered one of a small number of seats to one or more of the Specialized High Schools to which you applied and/or auditioned to.”
I had gotten into the Bronx High School of Science.
After a momentary celebration which involved jumping up and down and excitedly thrusting the paper to any teacher that cared to look, I was given a cell phone to inform my parents with. I called my dad, ecstatic, and told him the news.
His response: “Not Stuyvesant?”
The aforementioned SHSI