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Elite NYC Schools Wrestle With Drop In Black, Hispanic Students
Al Jazeera America

At 13, Kanae Bunch knows her ticket out of the South Bronx. “Even if they call you nerd or whatever, it doesn’t matter because you know what you’re doing is right,” she said. “There’s no ‘not’ even in my mind not to go. It’s like, ‘What? You’re not going to college?’ I have to go. Priority.”  

But before Kanae gets into college, she has to get into high school. She’s aiming for one of New York City’s elite specialized schools, which have long been considered a path to success for the city’s poor and working-class students. Eight of these high schools, including Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Technical, are feeders to the country’s best colleges and have produced 14 Nobel laureates.

Every fall, nearly 30,000 eighth and ninth graders vie for one of these coveted seats by taking the Specialized High School Admissions Test, or SHSAT. It’s been the basis for admission for more than 70 years. But recently it’s been under attack.