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Report from the Front

Art criticism, sometimes with context, occasional politics. New shows: "events;" how to support the online edition: "works."


What Price Diversity?



Since the spring of 2018, I have been pondering Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to "diversify" New York City's three specialized or "elite" public high schools by getting the state legislature in Albany to abolish the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) that is required under the Hecht-Calandra Act of 1971 for all students who wish to enter these high schools.


De Blasio's argument is that these tests prevent all but a very few African American  and Latino children from being invited to attend these schools, and that such de facto segregation makes a mockery of the city's professed claims to be truly liberal and democratic.


He wants to diversify the student bodies of these schools by increasing the number of African American and Latino children enrolled in them even if these children don't perform well enough on the SHSATs to be admitted on the same basis as the white and Asian-American children who currently occupy almost all of the seats at these schools.


This places me in a quandary.

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