Admission screening is necessary

In an attempt to increase racial diversity in New York City schools, reformers want to eliminate admission tests (“Especially now, public schools for all: NYC should do away with middle- and high-school admission screens,” New York Daily News, Oct. 9).  They say the use of such tests is racist because acceptance rates for white students are up to 16 times that of students of color.

But there’s another side of the story that warrants attention.  How are students of color or white students helped if they are admitted to schools where they lack the aptitude to handle the work?  I realize that such screens often reflect inequities rather than achievement, but in the final analysis students will not prosper when they lack the wherewithal to compete.

We talk so much these days about promoting the self-esteem of all students.  If so, it’s time to get real about the damaging effect that failure will have on students of any color.

(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)

2 Replies to “Admission screening is necessary”

  1. Seems likely that, if admission standards are relaxed, as night follows day there will be a relaxation of teaching rigor and/or a relaxation of grading standards to as to ensure that the less-achieving students get acceptable grades.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: That is correct. Yet we resist tracking in the fantasy that all it takes is grit to succeed. We do a terrible disservice to students who lack the wherewithal to achieve in rigorous classes.

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