The only way into the city’s seven specialized high schools is a high score on a one-time exam. But while black and Hispanic students make up half of test-takers, but they represent only a tiny proportion of students at the schools, which include Stuyvesant and Bronx Science.

A different admissions procedure could ensure a more equitable student body at the specialized high schools, argues a former CUNY dean in the GothamSchools community section. John Garvey weaves personal anecdotes, local history, and lessons from a pioneering college admissions plan in Texas into a proposal for a new way to admit students to the city’s most elite high schools.

Garvey writes:

The woefully small percentages of black and Hispanic students at the city’s specialized high schools is not a new development, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to change it. Here’s my suggestion: The Department of Education should adopt a proportional admissions plan for the exam schools that would offer admission to the highest-scoring students from each of the neighborhoods of the city.