New York Times story on lack of diversity in the city’s most prestigious high schools highlights just how bad things are. Stuyvesant High, the Lower Manhattan institution that counts acclaimed actors, musicians, and Nobel laureates among its alumni, offered seats to 952 incoming students for the coming school year. Seven of them were black, and 21 were Hispanic.

Things aren’t much better across the city’s specialized school system, which offers elite-level academics without tuition costs: five percent of students at the nine specialized high schools are black, seven percent are Hispanic, 53 percent are Asian, and 26 percent are white. By contrast, 70 percent of public school students overall are black or Hispanic.

Critics say the blame falls on a state policy which requires prospective students to take a single test for admission to a specialized school, arguing that the tests are discriminatory. Mayor de Blasio, for his part, says things need to change. “These schools are the jewels in the crown for our public school system,” he said at a press conference. “This is a city blessed with such diversity. Our schools, especially our particularly exceptional schools, need to reflect that diversity.”

(Photo: @Orin Hassan)