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    Stuyvesant Principal explains why he stopped Discovery Program for promoting diversity

    From OurTownNY by Megan Finnegan:
    Last Sunday, a group of Stuyvesant High School alumni gathered to address the severe lack of diversity at the school, which has only 5 percent black and Hispanic students. An offshoot of the alumni association, the Black Alumni Diversity Initiative, organized a panel to discuss ways in which the esteemed school could bolster its reputation as a place with fair access, while still maintaining its elite status and rigorous academic standards.

    Stanley Teitel, principal of Stuyvesant, used his time to explain why he had discontinued the Discovery program at the school about eight years ago (he could not recall the exact year). The program was created in 1971 as a way to ensure that minority and disadvantaged students had access to specialized high schools. When these students scored a few points below the cutoff on the admissions test, they could be selected to attend a summer Discovery course that would bring them up a few notches and allow them to be offered a seat at that high school in the fall.

    “In the old days, when there were only three schools, when I wanted to have a Discovery program, I would select students who already had a seat at Bronx Science, but if they went to the summer program here at Stuyvesant, they might have a chance to attend Stuyvesant in the fall,” said Teitel. “So I was basically stealing from Bronx Science, Bronx Science was stealing from Brooklyn Tech.”

    Teitel said that after the Department of Education created five additional specialized high schools under Chancellor Harold Levy, the parameters of Discovery changed. Whereas previously he had been able to select participants who scored just below the 560 cutoff for Stuyvesant, Teitel said, the DOE told him that he would have to choose students for Discovery from those who had missed entry to all specialized schools—those who scored below the lowest cutoff score, generally less than 470.

    This 100-plus point disparity, he said, would make it impossible for Discovery students to get up to par academically with their peers by the time the fall semester began.

    “I can’t pick students who just missed the cutoff [for Discovery]. If I could, I would be happy to still have it,” said Teitel.

    Several people in the audience and on the panel questioned whether the admissions test itself is the best method of determining who are the best students in New York.

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  2. #2

    Suggestion to address Sty's principals issues with Discovery

    I commend the principal for having the courage to give a direct and honest account of why he stopped
    participation in the program! As a black Bronx Science 1971 graduate and Discovery program graduate with a older sister also Bronx Science graduate '68 (note that the reported 1971 genesis date in this and other articles is misleading since both of us were Discovery
    alums-71 was just when the law was adopted to legislate./mandate the program since at least Bronx Science had participants as early as my sister's 1965 entry to 10th grade at Science) I would like to suggest to him a alternate approach that would address his concerns. If ALL the specialized schools use the methodology that he was using (only select from the candidates below their specific school's cutoff) then ALL the schools woukd be stealing from the lower cutoff school without a high risk and the total increased opportunity pool would be the sum of those spots offered by all the schools. The significant benefit would be that Science and Sty would benefit from diversity increase without more risk than they had before DOE's idiot directives.

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