Friday, September 28, 2012

NAACP et al claim Stuyvesant entrance exam is racist

The verbal, logical reasoning, and math based Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), encoded in New York State education law by the Hecht-Calandra Act of 1972, has historically offered an equal opportunity to New York City students from all backgrounds to earn a seat at one of New York City's famed specialized public high schools, including my alma mater, Stuyvesant High School.

The NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund (or NAACP LDF) and other advocacy groups have filed a complaint (perhaps timed to capitalize on Stuyvesant's cheating scandal) requesting a radical alteration of the exam-based admissions process in order to increase black and Latino enrollment. Their case is modelled on the lawsuits against exam-based admission to white-majority city agencies such as the police and fire departments, except in this case the NAACP LDF is objecting to the Asian majority (72%) at Stuyvesant. Would a judge find that Stuyvesant's exam-based admissions process violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Well, the lawsuits against the city agencies used disparate impact to shift the burden of proof from the plaintiffs to the defendants. The NAACP LDF is not contesting the racial neutrality of the SHSAT. Rather, the NAACP LDF case argues disparate impact, challenges the equity of the test-taking process and predictive validity of the objective exam, and recommends a subjective multi-measure admissions process with the goal of redistributing seats at Stuyvesant from Asian students to black and Latino students.

To replace the racially neutral SHSAT, the NAACP LDF proposes the university admissions model that discriminates against Asian applicants. A subjective admissions process that intentionally favors black and Latino students over Asian students would be racially discriminatory disparate treatment. The United States, New York State, and New York City Departments of Education are reviewing the NAACP LDF complaint, and a bill to amend the New York State education law is under review in the New York State Senate and Assembly. In June 2014, a second amendment was proposed to allocate seats "proportionate to the number of public school students in each borough".

Read the NAACP LDF complaint and press release, and the proposed amendments for multi-measure criteria and proportionate allocation in the New York Senate and Assembly. More here, here/here/here (study authors), here, here, here and here (re test prep), here, here, here, here, here, here (history lesson), here, here, here (Stuy Spec), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here (Stuy teacher), here (Stuy parent), and here (SHSAT advocates).

The coveted success of Asians at Stuyvesant is a source of great pride - and hope - for Asian families in New York City. Asian parents believe the key to their children's future is academic achievement, and therefore hold Stuyvesant in extraordinarily high esteem, even reverence. The Asian students who earn seats at Stuyvesant typically are not rich. Lower-income immigrant Asian families in particular rely on their children testing into Stuyvesant (and the other elite exam schools) as an accessible and affordable avenue of upward mobility. In a society where Asian Americans are denied the advantages of white privilege and affirmative action, the SHSAT is an indispensable opportunity for Asian students to compete on a level playing field with a fair, color-blind, straightforward transparent standard. No disparate treatment. No suspiciously opaque subjectiveness. No white privilege. No affirmative action. No favoritism for wealth, connections, siblings, or legacy. No Asian-suppressive quota. Every Stuyvesant student from any background is qualified according to objective merit on the same standard. *

(* Yes, Rachel Kleinman, "You could win the national spelling bee. None of that matters." We're proud that even the Rebecca Sealfon '01 had to qualify on her SHSAT to go to Stuy, same as the rest of us.)

Among other troubling aspects, the NAACP LDF lawsuit is anti-Asian. I would welcome more diversity in the Stuyvesant student body, but only if each student's SHSAT score qualifies him or her for a seat at Stuyvesant. However, the NAACP LDF intends to take from Asian students the seats they would earn on the SHSAT and give those seats to unqualified students according to a predetermined ethnic division. The NAACP LDF tries to disguise its anti-Asian goal with the straw-man argument that rich white families are gaming the system with exclusive, expensive test prep courses that box out hopelessly disadvantaged minorities, when in fact, the typical Stuyvesant student is not a wealthy scion of white privilege, but rather from a lower-income immigrant Asian family without the benefit of wealth, white privilege, or affirmative action. Asian success at Stuyvesant belies the NAACP LDF's vision of minority helplessness. To marginalize Asians, the NAACP LDF resorts to the rhetorical trick of grouping together "either whites or Asian Americans".

The test prep factor is overrated, too. Asian families sacrifice, scrimp, and save to pay for test prep, a course of action that is equally available to black and Latino families. As well, affordable and even free test prep targeted at minorities is readily available. Stuyvesant alumni are actively involved in those efforts. (In my experience, taking a test prep course isn't necessary to qualify for Stuyvesant, anyway; I prepared for the SHSAT with a book I borrowed from my local library.)

Given the harm to Asian children should the NAACP LDF succeed and in light of the racist mentality driving the lawsuit, eg, "We're saying something wrong if we're saying New York City's brightest students are almost all Chinese or Korean", I am surprised and dismayed that several Asian advocacy groups have endorsed the NAACP LDF complaint. Any advocacy group or politician that supports the NAACP LDF is acting in direct contravention of the interests of Asian families.

For Asian families, Stuyvesant represents the hope that America can be a race-neutral level playing field where success is earned with discipline, ambition, and self-improvement. The NAACP LDF lawsuit undermines that hope and threatens Asian students with a different kind of America.

Also see:
A comment on the NAACP 'othering' Asians in the Stuyvesant extrance exam controversy;
Stuyvesant entrance exam is equal opportunity as an academic competition;
My comments at BigWOWO's post, Asians and Public Education, starting here.


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Anonymous Amused said...

I don't frankly know why are you bitching.

Asians have thrown in their lot with the left, and the reward for that is now coming due.

Here's a recent study from about Asian-American attitudes.

See here:

Notice the part on Affirmative action. Over 70 % support it.

It used to be a lot more conflicted but this is what leftism does to a community.

So why bitch now?

Second, what 'white privilege'?
Lower-class white students get very heavily discriminated against.

Apparently that doesn't concern you the least and you repeat the same leftist slogans.

It's very hard to build sympathy for yourself when you are denying it to others.

If whites were discriminated against but not Asians you wouldn't have cared at all.

As you said in an earlier comment "I only care about the NAACP because its anti-Asian".

Actually, the NAACP has been anti-white(except for rich whites who get in because their daddies donate to the university, but they're a small minority) for a long time.

And you only start to care now.

And now you're begging for sympathy. Please.

Second, while many Asian immigrants are not rich, how many academics are?

The people who are coming from Asia are highly educated, and while not rich, gives them a chance to hold a steady and a stable job.

It also means that they invest a lot more in their kids than someone whose parents do not have an academic background.

Third, the statistics on Asians in America is very clear: it's a group with above average education among the 1st generation and above-average income.

So the kids to these parents are growing up in homes that are not exactly typically underclass.

Not being rich or even in middle income does not mean being poor.

Let's take the Indian-Americans.
8 % of their population back home have a bachelors degree.

It's over 70 % among U.S. American Indians.

There's over 1 million Indian-Americans in the New York area.

A lot of Indian kids are in these top schools and for good reason.

But pretending that they and other Asian kids are somehow coming from homes where the parents have no educational background and have a trouble finding a job is pure propaganda and dishonest.

It's pathetic.

10/07/2012 6:43 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Amused, paragraphs are useful.

I don't need the sympathy - I tested into and graduated Stuy a long time ago.

The SHSAT doesn't discriminate against (nor for) white students, lower-class or otherwise. Same for Asians, Indians, blacks, Latinos, and all the students from all backgrounds who take the test. As a black Bronx Science student responded in one of the articles about the NAACP complaint, the test is the test. It doesn't discriminate.

As of now, admission to Stuyvesant and other NYC specialized high schools is purely meritocratic, based only on rank order of test score. No more, no less. Simple, straightforward, transparent. Race preferences carry no weight and play no part in the selection process. No double standards.

Is that a selection device - and a principle in practice - you can sympathize with? It would seem the NAACP doesn't.

10/07/2012 7:32 AM  
Blogger socks said...

White privilege. Seriously? I grew up on a (small commercial) farm in SC with a not particularly outgoing dad who built things instead of networking. If I hear someone else tell me that I magically have some privilege just because I'm white, well, the more I think this, the more I think we're all just going to fight it out. You might want to jump on the end AA bandwagon and not the save us from white privilege bandwagon.

10/07/2012 7:52 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

socks, on either and both bandwagons, how does the SHSAT fit?

10/07/2012 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

File a lawsuit against NBA, NFL, US track, and porn for discriminating against Asian males. And Asian males should file sex inequality claims since many more white and black guys get Asian women than Asian guys get white or black women.

10/07/2012 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, you seem to be uninterested in responding to the complaints of the first commenters. No one here is disagreeing about the value of the one-test SHSAT admission model.

Rather they are claiming that, on average, minority groups (Asians and Jews as well as Latinos and blacks) are habitually ethnocentric, taking leftist positions (support for affirmative action) or liberal ones ("color-blind" policies), depending on the assessment of group self-interest. While at the same time decrying any twitch of majority-white self-interested ethnocentrism as "racist."

Here in your post, the issue is your concern with a putatively "anti-Asian" policy and claims of "white privilege." What if Asians, on average, did badly on the SHSAT? Does that mean you would no longer support the one-test policy, if it were objectively anti-Asian?

I look forward to a clarification of "white privilege" and how in which of today's elite institutions, an Albanian immigrant from Paterson, N.J., or an Appalachian Baptist bears some advantage over a Korean orthodontist from Flushing, by virtue of "white privilege."

No, it's only whites who are not only forbidden from thinking ethnocentrically ("is it good for the whites?") but when they merely attempt to frame issues in a "citizenist" fashion ("is this good for the people of America?") are met with opportunistic ethnocentrism from even those minorities who would seem to benefit from color-blind "meritocracy" -- endless, shameless discussion of whether a given policy might be "anti-Jewish" or "anti-Asian."

Hence the resentment from your white readers who might otherwise simply agree with you on the value of a one-test SHSAT model of admission.

10/07/2012 11:16 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Anon, I did answer their complaints while hewing to MY main point.

Of course my post is my delineation and affirmation of the Asian interest in this controversy, from my perspective and reacting to the NAACP's callousness.

Clarification of "white privilege". If you want a general definition, there's plenty on-line. I won't hold an ethnic studies 101 class.

As to how the notion applies to this controversy, I can get you started. First, this quote from my post captures how the NAACP defines the problem, which informs how they frame their solution:
"straw-man argument that rich white families are gaming the system with exclusive, expensive test prep courses that box out hopelessly disadvantaged minorities".

Second, this yahoo article, about HAPAs applying to elite universities, shows how Asians perceive that different bars are set for whites and Asians in higher education:

So, when the NAACP holds up elite university admissions as the model for reforming Stuy admissions, it sets off alarm bells about disguised quotas and double standards. To answer your other question, Asian families trust the straightforward transparent honesty of the rank-order SHSAT; based on bad experience, subjective admissions officers not as much.

10/07/2012 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm anon #1.

I'll just add a few things because obviously the author of this blog became confused about my reply.
My response was geared in general towards the issue of Asian support for Affirmative Action(at about 78%).

The author of this blog has also gone on record and openly stated that he only cares about the NAACP "because they are anti-Asian". No words about any other group.
And now he is crying on his blog about how unfair the world is to the big victims of this world, Asians.

I've stated before that I support meritocratic admissions. But believe it or not, Stuy isn't the world.
The vast majority who get discriminated against are whites, specifically poor, rural whites from 'red states'.

Asians also get discriminated against in university admissions, but whereas people like me are willing to concede that, people like Eric obviously only care about Asians, as he himself admits.
So the follow-up question is obvious, if he wants to change the actions of the NAACP, perhaps it would be a smart move to understand that you need to build alliances.

Openly stating your own egotistical preferences for only your own racial group isn't going to help your cause.

And as the poll I've linked to earlier, most Asians support AA, the overwhelming majority do, and only bitch when they get targeted in major numbers(like now). Otherwise, they're all for it in huge numbers.

Again: want to get rid of this? Well, better change your own attitudes.

The final point I made concerned the situation in general for Asians, debunking the common myth that many hold, including yourself, that Asians are this uneducated, downtrodden minority when all the stats show above-average incomes.
And as I've previously wrote, the immigrants from Asia who come here are overwhelmingly overeducated in most cases compared to their own native countries.

Also, just because you are not rich or even slightly below middle-income doesn't mean you are poor in America. If both parents hold a stable job and both are educated(thereby giving the child an academic setting to flourish in back home when coming from school), that means a lot more than just mere income.

A genuine underclass are people where the vast majority of parents are unemployed or hold short-term/temp jobs, where the parents are often only high school grads or even dropouts as the prevailing standard.

That isn't the case for Asians in NYC nor nationwide so keep trying to claim the mantle of victimhood of the downtrodden minority has a huge problem: statistics.

In the end, statistics beat delusional fantasies. Some people just need it beaten into them a little bit to get it.

10/07/2012 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in the field of computer software for custom embedded devices. At my office we have a mixture of EE and CS people. We're about 60-70% Asian and the rest Caucasian and our office is located in a suburb that is about 80% Caucasian. If white privilege exists, I sure don't see it around me.

If you believe white privilege exists then you shouldn't have a problem documenting it, especially documenting the aspects of how it affects high-achieving Asians.

The notion and academic study of "white privilege" as an everyday phenomena pervasive in modern society comes from the same people who believe that entrance examinations in police department, fire departments, or in this case, elite schools, is a form of racial discrimination against Blacks and Latinos (ala disparate impact theory). You should know better.

While I don't believe that racism against Asians doesn't exist, the idea that most Asian kids are fighting some big wall of "white privilege" is ludicrous.

Your other points are otherwise valid.

10/07/2012 2:29 PM  
Anonymous TFD said...

Eric continues to dodge explaining the White Privilege effect, and instead assumes it to be true as if it's a law of physics (ie his obnoxious "ethnic studies 101" comment).

What little Eric says is that he can "get us started" describing how the notion of White Privilege "applies to this controversy" via this quote from his post:
"straw-man argument that rich white families are gaming the system with exclusive, expensive test prep courses that box out hopelessly disadvantaged minorities".

I'm not sure how that explains what White Privilege is. "Rich White families" don't have an advantage because they're white. They have an advantage because they're rich. That's called Rich Privilege, and it's existed in every civilization ever. Stop calling it White Privilege.

As for your second item explaining what White Privilege is, the link to the article about checking the race box on college exams... are you kidding me? Do you know absolutely nothing about race preferences at American universities? You think checking off a box on a college admissions form indicating your race is an implementation of White Privilege??? Racial preferences at universities (which try to create student bodies that represent the racial demographics of the country) end up creating higher/tougher admissions standards for Asians and whites, and lower/easier admissions standards for blacks and hispanics. Do you not know this?

Yes, checking off that you're Asian is a disadvantage. But whites are not the ones benefitting off of this. Checking off that you're white is a disadvantage as well, compared to checking off black or hispanic.

Eric's simplistic logic seems to be that since checking off that you're Asian on a college admissions form hurts Asians, then it must be White Privilege.

You have completely missed the boat on understanding how racial preferences work at American universities. Checking off the race box on a college admissions form is surely NOT an exercise in white privilege. Wow.

10/07/2012 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, like all non-whites, are about progressing their own ethnic interests against white people. East Asians just do it in a different manner than black and brown people.

East Asians are not discriminated in college admissions. East Asians overperform on standardized tests.

10/07/2012 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am surprised and dismayed that several Asian advocacy groups have endorsed the NAACP complaint."

because these "asian groups" don't represent the asian people's best interests and are more of an arm of the democrat/liberal machine.

with regards to the NAACP, it has lost it's relevancy. Most of the major fights against racism has already been won, and the NAACP is looking for ways to not become obsolete, by taking on bogus racism issues.

10/08/2012 1:00 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Liu said...

White privilege: the unearned, unnoticed advantages of being white in a society that places higher implicit value on white people.

You want me to define in more real terms it for you? It's being considered American when people like Steve Sailer bring up the "National Question". It's movie directors not cutting you out of roles in favor of other races. It's being accepted as the default, and normal. When a white guy shoots up a school (Colorado) race is not discussed. An Asian guy shoots up Virginia Tech, and bam anti-Korean and anti_Asian comments fly everywhere. White person travels abroad to China or Thailand, is treated well and assumed to have money + power. Black American person or Latino... no.

10/09/2012 6:20 PM  
Blogger john marzan said...

"White person travels abroad to China or Thailand, is treated well and assumed to have money + power. Black American person or Latino... no."

because the assumption is usually correct. same rules apply for light skinned people in latin america.

(altho if a black or latino can travel to far away places like china or thailand, the guy has money and power too, no?)

10/11/2012 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"East Asians overperform on standardized tests."

Good example of white privilege at work. When an Asian does well, they "over" do it and it must be a bad thing. When a white person does well, then they completely deserved it and all is well.

10/29/2012 3:00 AM  
Blogger john marzan said...

When an Asian does well, it's called "acting white"

10/30/2012 12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Asian and WHITES unfairly have a huge advantage over Blacks and Hispanics. They take special drugs that increase their chances in entering specialized competitive high schools. Thus, the NAACP has a conspiracy theory on their hands. They must investigate into this travesty of justice that place Blacks and Hispanics at the back of the bus. These drugs,I hear on the streets, are nicknamed "HARD WORK" and "STUDY ALOT". Blacks and Hispanics must be given these drugs NOW!

11/24/2012 1:03 PM  
Blogger john marzan said...

eric "Asian Americans and whites form supermajorities."

ah, but bertha lewis, head of Working Parties Family, said asians should form supermajorities with black people to counter whites

9/27/2013 9:05 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The people that can't get into
the Sci-highs should be allowed to enter a "prep sci-high academy", each of our distinct service academies (West Point, USNA Annapolis) has one of these
"West Point Prep Schools".

Or maybe through the life
of their other high school careers they can be provided supplemental education packets, handouts, formulas, worksheets.

True, to some degree, the test
dictates whether you get in or not, tutoring, broken homes, or not. But then lets concentrate on funding. With all these broken high schools around shouldn't the city council divert money from these Sci-highs into fixing or supplementing these schools? There can be no reason these sci high schools get every Advance Placement class available to them on city money.

6/25/2014 11:16 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

John Wong,

DOE school budgets, including for Stuyvesant High School, are apportioned by a standard formula. See and .

The dollar amount spent per Stuyvesant student is on par with other DOE high school students. How most of a school budget is spent is at the discretion of the Principal. If Stuyvesant gets more 'bang for the buck' from its DOE funding allocation, including more advanced classes, that's due to the better efficient use of resources allowed by the caliber of Stuyvesant student, not due to more funding than other schools.

6/26/2014 4:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think if the Sci-High schools like Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech open some sort of "Discovery Institute" within their walls for prospective underrrepresented students that would go a long way towards helping them get in without all this excess tutoring, extra schools, etc.

Once again think along the lines of a "West Point Prep" school (located in Monmouth Co. New Jersey). 80-90 % are minority students that are spending a year after graduating high school in
classroom environment to strengthen their SAT scores, Math, and Verbal section. 75-80 % gain admittance to West Point.

6/29/2014 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Just thinking... said...

I question the use of the Discovery programs because in the past it was used to admit students who missed the cut off by 3 points. So in the past a Brooklyn Tech kid could be admitted to Bronx Sci, and a Bronx Sci kid could be admitted to Stuy. Currently the program only exist at Brooklyn Tech, and I assume they are taking kids that made to lower cutoff schools.

My problem with the Discovery Program and how it relates to the NAACP complaint, is that is there enough Black/Hispanic kids missing by the marginal 3 points to effect the student demographics that much for the top 2 SHSAT schools. If not, how much do they plan to expand the cutoff for Black and Hispanic kids. It would seem expand the cutoff too much and you might be setting these kids up for failure in a highly competitive environment. Does the NAACP think that after the SHSAT there are no other test at these schools that might be ranked based, like tough AP classes and crazy tenured teachers that want to enforce curve grading standards in their class.

Part of me feels this is some weird reaction in the Black activist population to post-racial society and post-Blackness views (The idea that since there is already an elite, middle, and under serve class in the Black community. There is no need to think of things as "Black" issues per say). Like some weird middle class Black survivor guilt to help the under privilege class. So they make some noise to feel relevant.

7/16/2014 4:52 PM  

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