Monday, August 6, 2018

Why I Support Multiple Measures of Admission to New York's Specialized High Schools

When people ask me what I think of proposed changes in the admissions requirements for Specialized High Schools, here is what I tell them
First, I support multiple measures of evaluation for colleges, jobs, sports teams and anything else I can think of, why should I support a single test as the sole standard of admission to specialized high schools.
Secondly, at a time when more and more colleges are becoming SAT/ACT Optional, it is in no one's interest, other than test companies and those involved in data mining, to put so much emphasis on standardized tests. You are not preparing students for higher education by using a single test criteria for top high schools- you are not preparing them for today's workplace either. Social skills, intellectual curiosity, cultural breadth are among the array of traits that employers in all walks of life look for; that is why they have interviews, or group sessions which expose prospective employees to real life situations
So, while I think testing is a legitimate element in admission for institutions such as Stuyvestant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, especially given these schools long and distinguished histories, it is time to make their admissions standards more broad based.
An excessive emphasis on testing is the bane of public education. Test skepticism, not test reverence, is what we need to deal with children's multiple aptitudes and to create healthier communities


Unknown said...

The response to the problem with specialized schools has to be comprehensive. Tests are just maintaining the status quo. Anyone who complains that their kid tried so hard on a test and the shsat should continue is admitting maybe their kid couldnt get in with other measures. Can your kid make a portfolio, write a poem, a play, an essay, have a conversation during an admissions interview? If not, why? Does your kid get generally good grades? Whats the problem? If multiple measures are used I believe middle schools will have to up their game. They will have to shape kids and prepare them more for admissions. I think that would be a positive result. Tony Avella proposed adding gifted classes as if that would bring equity to the system or address diversity. Lawmakers are not looking at funding equity, staffing stability and leadership in middle and elementary schools. I dont hear them discussing restoring all the arts frok k-8 so more students can have a chance to get into Laguardia, not just the rich kids. I dont hear them talking about restoring libraries, and science labs in middle schools to make it a priority. I hear the same academic segregation. Their solutions will not move the needle. Their solutions are aimed at pleasing a voting bloc. Their solutions dont seem to be aiming towards justice.

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