Asians stir up accusations of racism ... again!

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LoveNotHate
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20 Sep 2014, 10:02 am

In New York city, the elite high school , Stuyvesant High, admits students based on their score on a written test.

"The city's Education Department said that 28,000 students across the city took the 'Specialized High School Admissions Test' last year, and about 5,700 of them were offered admission to the elite schools. Of that figure, 53 percent were Asian, 26 percent were white, but only 5 percent were black and 7 percent Hispanic. [source 1] "Asians accounted for 3/4 (75%) of those that accepted admission according to media reports" [source 1]

The mayor, "noting black and Latino enrollment at Stuyvesant is only 7%" [source 2] has decided that the test needs to be changed so that more black and Hispanic kids can enter the school. "Two years ago, a group of educational and civil rights organizations filed a complaint with the federal Education Department seeking to have the test-only admissions policy found in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint is still being investigated". [source 3].

Mayor de Blasio: "This is a society that?s supposed to be based on fairness. Our specialized schools don?t reflect the kind of fairness that any New Yorker would recognize by any common sense measure" [source 2].

Is he right or fallacious?

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sources:
1. http://www.ibtimes.com/stuyvesant-high- ... ng-1563568
2. http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailyp ... -1.1920767
3. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/nyreg ... .html?_r=0



Kraichgauer
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20 Sep 2014, 10:59 am

Not everyone is starting off at the same point, and economic and social standing plays a big role in that. So in that sense, he's right.


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Jacoby
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20 Sep 2014, 11:04 am

There are socioeconomic and cultural reasons why asians are represented so disproportionately when compared to blacks and hispanics, I don't think it is systemic racism in education and I think if anything this evidence to the contrary. I don't think there is any policy as far schooling goes that can really be done to solve this disparity, the onus has to be on black and hispanic culture to put more emphasis on education and work ethic to overcome their socioeconomic disadvantages as asians have. Does anybody doubt that enforcing "diversity" in these so called elite public schools would be disastrous?

The reality is that 'inequality' isn't totally a result of racism and discrimination(which isn't denying it) there is a uncomfortable truth that not all cultures are equal.



Tollorin
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20 Sep 2014, 9:28 pm

The problem with New York gifted programs is that because of the heavy competitive environment that society put on parents and their children, it his considered the norm in high society to put children in costly elite private schools or to get children in public gifted schools (The last one being far less costly.). It bring a triving industry paid by anxious parents ("Imagine if my kid don't enter the gifted program, his life will be ruined!! !") to teach kids to past the test. http://shsat.bellcurves.com/?hp=mp_feat_tests
Of course such trend mean that ethnic groups that put more effort in the academic education of their children are advantaged, as they are more likely to invest in the test preparations. There is some interesting things said on the first article linked:

Quote:
?Most of our parents don?t believe in [the word] ?gifted,?? Riyan Iqbal, a son of Bangladeshi immigrants and a student at Bronx Science, said. ?It?s all about hard work.?


Quote:
Lee noted that Asian immigrants tend to come from countries in which effort, rather than ability alone, is hailed as the route to achievement.

?Because Asian immigrant parents believe that increased effort leads to continuous improvement, they are more likely to invest their resources in supplemental education for their children compared to native-born American parents,? she said.


That the debate is focused on "achievements" (Meaning what you have learned and can apply, or what you have done; something for which intelligence help but also depend on the amount of work and oppurtinity.) rather that "giftedness" (Being "gifted" do not only mean being smart, it also mean having neurological differences. (Basically, the intellectually gifteds are not NTs.) ), mean that the purpose of gifted education is lost in the debate. Another problem with achievement is that those coming from schools of poor neighborhood are disavantaged, as the schools ask less from students, even the smart ones.

Most likely if you take black and spanish kids that passed the SHSAT and compare them to most asian and white kids who passed it, you could observe striking differences. The black and spanish kids would much more inquisistive and curious, more sensible and more creatives, they would also be less teachers pleaser, more likelly to be argumentative, to contest autorithy and to enjoy intellectual debates; and also more lazy (From not having enough challenging works in school.). That's because black and spanish kids really need to be gifteds to pass the test.

One solution could be to change the test! So let's look at it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specialized_High_Schools_Admissions_Test#Examination_format

Quote:
Verbal

45 Multiple Choice Questions

30 Reading Comprehension (5 Reading passages with 6 questions each)
15 Logical Reasoning questions
5 Scrambled Paragraph (worth 2 points each)

I don't see much that could be done for the verbal section. Maybe adding a test for "similarities"; aka give a list of words and asking the students to write in what they are similar. Of course, the correction would be harder then.

The mathematical section on the other hand...
Quote:
Electronic calculators and other calculation aids may not be used during the test.

Already there is a problem; there is no pertinence to forbid calculators for a 9th grade selection test. Knowing his time table only show good memorisation skills, not good reasoning skills. And to be bad in arithmetic don't mean to be bad in mathematical reasonings. If somehow I had to pass such a test back in middle or high school I would have been greatly handicapped from being really bad in arithmetic, and that's beside that in 9th grade I got a perfect score in a math test while only three other students have been able to pass it (More that 60%.). (Then again I did worked well for that test, and of course the calculator was allowed. :wink: )

Quote:
50 Multiple Choice Questions

Various mathematical topics tested

Basic math

Algebra
Algebra
Factoring
Substitution
Geometry
Basic Coordinate Graphing
Logic
Word Problems


I found it rather weird that they put factoring as I didn't learn factoring until 10th grade. If they are putting things that are beyond what have been taught to students, then it unjustly favor those who prepare for the test; particulary for something that depend mostly on memorising rules like factoring. Beside that, if basic coordinate graphing is what I think, then it has no place there; it's only something mechanical where you have to be a good automaton. The test I think should mostly concentrate on geometry, logic and word problems; the rest is less pertinent. They could also add math problems that the kids have never seen in school (Not more advanced, but unusual.) and see how they are solving new problems they have never seen before.

I guess a pertinent change is not likely to happen though. Some schools now use a test that focus more for achievements for their admission in kindergarten, which is much worst that a achievement test for high school, as it greatly disadvantage kids coming disadvantaged homes.