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High stakes injustice: How the current specialized H.S. test fails minority students

SEN. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT and ASSEMBLYMAN KARIM CAMARA | 5/31/2013, 12:36 p.m.

Our offices also introduced a bill in Albany to enact this change legislatively, but Republicans in the state Senate have continued to block the proposal.

These schools must be empowered to select the applicants they believe to be most qualified, and embracing a more holistic entrance system would not only boost minority turnout, it would lead to greater diversity of all types within the student body.

Students would be better equipped for higher education as well, and reducing the disproportionally high college dropout rate for Blacks and Latinos is a top priority for our community. The American Association of Universities stated, "We believe that our students benefit significantly from education that takes place within a diverse setting." The current system is therefore a disservice to students who are both rejected and accepted to New York City's specialized high schools.

We will continue to push for legislation overhauling the high stakes testing that dictates this enrollment process. And the lawsuit initiated by members of our community will continue to move forward. And when more of our students can open their admissions letters with excitement and start planning what courses they'd like to take, it will be another significant victory in the march towards justice.

Sen. Adriano Espaillat is chair of the Senate Latino Conference and represents parts of Marble Hill, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem and the Upper West Side in Manhattan and the Bronx.

Assemblyman Karim Camara is chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and represents the Crown Heights and East Flatbush neighborhoods in Brooklyn. He is a pastor at Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn.