Diversity or Excellence?

New York City’s liberals are outraged by the success of Asian-American kids on a key admissions test.

The admissions-test results for New York City’s “specialized high schools” were announced last week, followed inevitably by a spate of articles bemoaning the continued lack of diversity, in terms of black and Latino enrollment, at the highly selective schools, and by renewed calls from progressives to gut the test. In an article in the Summer 2014 issue of City Journal, I discussed how poor and working-class Asian-American kids from immigrant families have come to dominate enrollment at these eight schools—particularly the flagship Stuyvesant High School—and how the effort by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other affluent white liberals to replace the admissions test with “holistic” selection criteria would primarily benefit their own privileged children, rather than underrepresented minorities, at the expense of these Asian students. A subsequent study by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at NYU confirmed this suspicion.