The number of Black students attending Stuyvesant High School is dwindling. In 1975, the Black attendees peaked at 303 students. By 2005, only 66 Black students were enrolled and this year there are only 40 out of 3,295.
The student demographic with the highest enrollment numbers is Asian students, at 72.5 percent. In the 1970s, white students outnumbered every other demographic at the school with Asians at just six percent. Today, white student enrollment stands at 24 percent and Hispanics count for 2.4 percent of the school’s numbers.
Students who are accepted into the exclusive school are required to take an entrance exam. It’s been discovered by individuals such as Harvey Blumm, a parent director for the school, that when he’s visited neighboring middle schools to educate them about the benefits of attending a high school like Stuyvesant, most of the students have never heard of taking the specialized entrance exam for admittance.
New York City could work harder to ensure that middle school students interested in attending prestigious schools such as Stuyvesant are prepared to take the exam. For example, free preparation programs could be offered.
For their part, school officials are aware of the demographic disparity and have put forth several programs to help students qualify. For example, Stuyvesant’s Black Alumni Association is now providing tutoring assistance. Unfortunately, the school canceled a program from the 1970s that gave underprivileged students the opportunity to increase their studies over the summer to gain a spot at the school.
Ángel Colón, the school’s counselor for diverse and service groups, commented that the advertising brochures passed out to tempt middle school students to apply lack diversity. He says, “There wasn’t a black or brown face in the crowd.” His office has become a gathering place for many of the school’s Black, Latino and gay students.
Mr. Colón also pointed out that “there’s something very isolating about being one of the very few.”
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