Making admission to elite high schools fairer

Rather than abolish the standardized test used as the sole basis for admission to New York City’s elite high schools, as Mayor Bill de Blasio is determined to do, two philanthropists will spend an additional $1.5 million to provide free test preparation and advertisements so that more talented low-income students can qualify (“Philanthropists Putting $1.5 Million Toward Prep for Specialized High Schools’ Test,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 8).

That will go a long way to creating equal opportunities for disadvantaged students.  The Education Equity Campaign, which has already spent $860,000, is not a panacea, but it is a much needed step.  Nevertheless, critics will not be satisfied.  They want to engineer equal racial outcomes one way or another.

The argument is that poverty is the reason so few black and Hispanic students pass the test.  But how to explain why Asians from low-income families do so well on the same tests?

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