Unsplash-Chris Liverani

Discussion on SHSAT gets heated and racist

There are a lot of discussions going on about the effectiveness of the SHSAT to determine which students get into New York City’s best public high schools. The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is taken annually by eighth and ninth graders and it tests a students capabilities in Math and English. It is the only factor in determining if a student will get into one of the eight specialized high schools. Asian students have the highest acceptance rates while black and brown students have the lowest. People who opposed the SHSAT said that the test creates segregation and leaves black and brown students behind. People for the test said that the test is objective and is a fair measure where race is not taken into account.

The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, wanted to scrap the SHSAT with a plan to admit the top 7 percent of teenagers from every middle school. This was met with backlash from some in the Asian community that felt that they were being unfairly targeted.

On Friday night the debate around whether to keep the SHSAT test heated. Two hundred people met up for the Youth and Community Speak Out on Equity, Diversity, and Admissions Event, at Brooklyn MetroTech Center, to discuss the matter, reports Bklyner. The event was organized by state senators to get a community sense of how people felt about the SHSAT.

Both sides debated the merits of the SHSAT but it got a little testy when one speaker was accused of making a racist statement.

“If I work hard, should I have a higher advantage than those who don’t even try? Instead, they are the ones having a higher advantage,” Chorus Lee said. “Because while I am doing practice exams, studying and trying my best, other students are probably watching TV and playing video games, and are not even trying. It’s just not right for me to work hard while others are just being lazy.”

Senator Montgomery was not amused by the “lazy” part and corrected the speaker. “Be very careful how you prepare them for this argument,” she said. “We should not assume that because a group of young people that we’re fighting about … it’s not that they didn’t get into schools because they’re lazy.

“It is your responsibility and it is an obligation that you make sure those children do not internalize those racist attitudes.”

Senator Liu spoke up and said that “lazy” had nothing to do with race. “Chorus Lee never mentioned anything about race,” he said. “I could tell you..when we [Asian-Americans] say ‘lazy people’, we’re not talking about anybody from any other race. A lot of times, we’re talking about siblings and other people we go to school with.”

Things calmed down until one woman went after Asian Americans and their “cheating.” Mary Alice, an alum of Stuyvesant, said, “High achieving African-American and Hispanic youth scholars cannot compete with a culture that has no problem with cheating on standardized tests. I Googled cheating on standardized tests in Asia and the United States. Cheating is so rampant in Asia, that China had to pass a law.”

She was not done with her dumb diatribe. “Everything I am saying now and will say, I have documentation. Some of the newer immigrants..have come with their cultural view of cheating on standardized tests. There have been documented cheating in Stuyvesant in 2012 and 2013. This is a serious public policy issue. People who cheat on tests cannot be trusted to be competent doctors, engineers, judges, etc.”

The crazy part is that Bklyner reported that even though there were a few hecklers, some applauded her, and most just accepted it.

What! LOL, she’s a nutter.

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