« Police Tase Georgia Teacher | Main | Obama to House: Pass the Edujobs Bill! »

What Color Are the Gifted?

Teachers at Hunter College High School, a New York City public school for the intellectually gifted, believe the school's rigorous admissions process--which is by invitation and test-based--discriminates against students of color, the New York Times reports. Frustrated with Hunter College's administration, which is a division of the City University of New York and oversees the high school, the faculty recently took a stand on the issue.

Although the school does not have a valedictorian, the faculty invites students to write and submit graduation speeches. This year the faculty chose Justin Hudson, an African-American and Hispanic student, as the graduation speaker. Hudson had submitted a speech condemning his school for its lack of diversity.

On graduation day, Hudson told his audience that Hunter High's students "had been labeled 'gifted,' based on a test they passed 'due to luck and circumstance,'" and that they were "disproportionately from middle-class Asian and white neighborhoods known for good schools and the prevalence of tutoring." According to the Times, this past year Hunter High's 7th grade class was 3 percent black and 1 percent Hispanic; the public school system as a whole is 70 percent black and Hispanic.

The entire faculty and about half the students gave Hudson a standing ovation, and Hunter's well-liked principal publically praised him. In the midst of the diversity debate, however, she is resigning, citing a "culture of fear" from the higher administration. She is the third principal to leave the school in five years.

Teachers promptly delivered a notice of no confidence in Hunter College's president, and they plan to take the matter to the chancellor of the City University of New York.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments