by Dennis Saffran
July 25, 2014
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has filed a civil rights complaint challenging the admissions process in New York City’s most prestigious high schools. While no one alleges that the schools’ rigorous entrance exam deliberately discriminates against minorities, the decline in the schools’ black and Hispanic student populations is seen as proof enough that the exam must be done away with. Yet those who would abandon academic merit as the main criterion for entrance would do so at the expense of NYC’s fastest-growing minority: Asian-Americans. The decline in the number of black and Hispanic students has not been matched by an increase in white students, but rather in Asian-Americans – nearly half of whom are living at or near the poverty level. These students got to where they are by dint of hard work rather than economic privilege, and restructuring entrance qualifications along racial lines would put them at an unfair disadvantage.