New York, NY — Last week, Mayor Bill De Blasio admitted his plan to eliminate the SHSAT was flawed saying, “The attempt we made to address it was just not effective and we have to come to grips with that and I have to take responsibility for that.” The Mayor and Richard A. Carranza, Education Chancellor of New York, pushed for the removal of the SHSAT as well as Gifted and Talented Programs across the city. The Mayor’s intention was to diversify the Specialized High Schools and increase the amount of black and Hispanic students.
The problem with the Mayor’s plan is that it neglects several issues. First, the root of the diversity issue does not lie in the exam, rather it lies in the inequality present in NYC’s education system. Students living in districts with failing middle schools are simply not equipped to take the SHSAT. Instead of removing Gifted & Talented and accelerated learning programs, the administration should be expanding these programs and ensuring that they are offered at all school districts.
Furthermore, the Mayor failed to include key stakeholders from the conversation including East Asian (Chinese, Korean, etc.) and South Asian (Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani) groups. The Bangladeshi community has become an integral part of New York City with many working-class families in the hospitality, food service, transportation industries. For many new immigrant families, the SHSAT has been a pathway out of poverty which would be taken away if the Mayor’s plan was approved. To date, Bangla is now the second most spoken non-English language at the Specialized High Schools.
“I am pleased with the Mayor’s decision to keep the SHSAT for the past several years and I’m glad they heard our testimony in the Assembly hearings and at City Hall. Asian New Yorkers have worked tirelessly to improve diversity in the Specialized High Schools this has been done through awareness programs scholarships and community-based partnerships. I look forward to continuing to fight for the expansion of Gifted & Talented classes in every school so that every NYC public school student can gain the best education possible for them and their families,” said Dr. Ivan Khan, CEO & President of Khan’s Tutorial.
Khan’s Tutorial has recognized these issues and is committed to ensuring that our community’s voices are heard. In response to the lack of diversity at the Specialized High Schools, Khan’s Tutorial established the Dr. Mansur Khan SHSAT Opportunity Scholarship and has worked with The Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation and Dreamchasers in Harlem to support students from underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, Khan’s Tutorial has taken a role in protecting our community’s access to education by attending town hall meetings, legislative hearings, and meeting with legislators.
Recently several Bangladeshi New Yorkers have announced that they are running for public office. We will continue to advocate for the NYC Bangladeshi community, and we urge constituents to vote for candidates who will address issues that affect our community.
With 10 locations in the outer boroughs of New York City, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and in the Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Astoria, Ozone Park, and Floral Park neighborhoods of Queens, Khan’s Tutorial primarily serves in assisting families in low-income, new immigrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, Khan’s Tutorial has helped 3,383 students gain admission to New York City’s Specialized High Schools.