One of New York City's best selective enrollment schools admitted only seven Black students to its class of 2023, while 895 freshmen were admitted overall.

New York City released admissions data for all of its selective enrollment high school students on Monday. Only 0.7 percent of Stuyvesant High School's freshman class will be Black next year, The New York Times reports.  That translates to seven Black students out of a population of 895; 33 Latinx students were admitted.

Students gain admittance into New York's eight selective enrollment schools by taking what is called the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, a standardized test similar to the SAT that tests eighth-graders on their math and English skills. 

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Black and Latinx students comprise slightly more than two-thirds of New York City's public school student body, Patch reports.  However, students of these backgrounds have historically failed to do as well on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test as white students. As a result, the student bodies of New York's best public schools do not reflect the public school population at large.

This year, approximately 4,798 students received an offer to attend one of the eight specialized high schools. Together, Black and Latinx students compose 10.5 percent of that number. Only 190 Black students were admitted this year along with 316 Latinx students.

Stuyvesant's enrollment of Black students has declined in recent years. In 2017, 13 Black students were accepted; in 2018, that number fell to 10. This year, just seven Black students were admitted. A similar trend can be seen in the city's other specialized high schools, including The Bronx High School of Science where 12 Black students were accepted this year compared to 25 Black students last year. 

In years prior, the admissions test has been promoted as a way for low-income gifted students to have better chances of gaining access into competitive programs, but in recent years the process has been questioned.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who has largely been on the fence about the debate, reacted strongly to the news on Monday, reports The Hill. Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to write, "Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap. This is what injustice looks like."

New York City School Chancellor Richard A. Carranza sent Blavity a statement in response to the controversy, writing, “We’re also once again confronted by an unacceptable status quo at our specialized high schools. We need to eliminate the single test for specialized high school admissions now.”

According to statistics provided by the chancellor's office, Black and Latinx enrollment has remained stagnant despite the city's efforts to diversify its test preparation outreach.

“These numbers are even more proof that dramatic reform is necessary to open the doors of opportunity at specialized high schools,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

De Blasio once suggested eliminating the test in favor of a more balanced admissions process, but many local politicians have been split on the issue. He is expected to renew this push now, despite the fact calls to end the test have proven unpopular in many of the city's wealthier areas.

In the meantime, the city is pushing a summer program called Discovery as the short-term solution to enrollment disparities. The program reserves 20 seats at each selective enrollment school for students who just missed the scores necessary for admission. Should the students complete the summer program, they will be given one of the reserved spots.

The program launches this year, and while it isn't clear how many of its participants will be Black and Latinx, city officials claim Discovery will double both the number of Black and Latinx students at specialized schools by 2021.

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