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Mayor Calls Admissions to City's Elite Schools 'As Fair As Can Be'

Mayor Bloomberg responded to claims made by the NAACP that the admissions process is unfair to minority students, saying there is "nothing subjective" about the tests.

Despite claims from the NAACP that the admission process for city’s top high schools is biased against minority students, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that the process is “as fair as fair can be,” according to the New York Daily News.

“Life isn’t always fair,” he said on Thursday, when asked about the NAACP’s claim that black and Latino students are underrepresented at the city's elite schools.

“There’s nothing subjective about this,” Bloomberg told the paper. “You pass the test, you get the highest score, you get into the school, no matter what your ethnicity, no matter what your economic background is. That’s been the tradition in these schools since they were founded and it’s going to continue to be.”

The NAACP singled out Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, where only one percent of students are black. The group also says that nearly 31 percent of white students and 35 percent of Asian students who take the exam are welcomed to the city’s elite schools, compared with just 7 percent of Latino and 5 percent of black students.

“I don’t know how you would take away the right to get tutoring or how the public could pay tutoring,” Bloomberg said. “We have tutoring for all our kids. It’s called the public school system. We do it five hours a day, roughly five days a week.”

Councilman Jumaane Williams, D-Brooklyn, agreed with the NAACP that the admissions process should be reviewed.

“The Department of Education must immediately engage in a discussion to fix a methodology that disproportionately hurts black and Latino students,” Williams said in a statement.

The Councilman, who attended Brooklyn Tech, one of the schools mentioned in the NAACP’s complaint, offered up his own solution to the problem.

“First, every hard-working and qualified student should have equal access to quality tutoring, mentoring and preparation services. Also, we could employ a holistic approach that takes into account their class performance, natural aptitude and willingness to learn in addition to the test score. Finally, the specialized schools themselves could offer more remedial programs or other avenues within the school year to assist youth in academic need,” Williams said.

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