Poverty is not destiny in education

Reformers would have everyone believe that students from low-income families are doomed to a mediocre education.  If so, then how do they explain that more than 60 percent of students at Brooklyn Tech High School and nearly half the students at Stuyvesant High School live in poverty (“New York’s Selective Public Schools Aren’t Only for the Wealthy,” The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 20)?

These two schools, along with six others, admit students solely on the basis of their scores on the Specialized High School Admissions Test, as mandated by the Hecht-Calandra law.  As a result, the schools are accused of being elitist, which is a dirty word because it is associated with wealth.  The evidence contradicts that assumption.

I’m not arguing that poverty plays no role in academic achievement.  But students can and do overcome the disadvantages in their backgrounds to succeed.

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