Archives for category: Race

The Central York school board banned a long list of books and videos about race, racism, and diversity. Days ago, responding to protests by students, parents, and teachers, the board voted unanimously to lift the ban.

This censorship is in keeping with the current effort by Republicans to label teaching about racism to be teaching “critical race theory” that makes white students feel guilty and uncomfortable.

A Pennsylvania school district that had banned a list of anti-racism books and educational resources by or about people of color — including children’s titles about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. — reversed its nearly year-long decision this week after backlash and protests from students, parents and educators in the community.


The Central York School District had implemented “a freeze” last fall on a lengthy list of books and educational resources that focused almost entirely on titles related to people of color. The school district claimed the books on race and social justice, which some in the southern Pennsylvania community hoped would help bolster the educational curriculum following George Floyd’s murder and the racial-justice protests of 2020, were frozen, not banned, after some parents raised concerns about the materials.


The school board announced Monday it had voted unanimously to reinstate access to the books, district spokeswoman Julie Randall Romig confirmed to The Washington Post.


Jane Johnson, president of the school board, said in a statement that the review of the anti-racist materials had “taken far too long.” The all-White school board had taken months to vet books and materials such as children’s titles on Parks and King, education activist Malala Yousafzai’s autobiography, the Oscar-nominated PBS documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” about writer James Baldwin and CNN’s “Sesame Street” town hall on racism.


Johnson previously noted that some parents in the district “believe that rather than uniting on diversity, certain resources polarize and divide on diversity and are based on disputed theories and facts…”

Students at Central York High School had denounced and protested the ban, saying their “thoughts are being invalidated.” Students organized demonstrations over consecutive days this month in response to the district’s inaction toward reversing the ban…

In November, the school board “unanimously approved a decision to freeze the use of these resources” pending a review, Johnson said.
A Twitter account named Central York Banned Book Club compiled a lengthy list of every book and resource that had been prohibited by the district. “The copy is tiny because the list is massive,” the account tweeted Sunday. @cybannedbooks

Professor Ibram X. Kendi spoke about dismantling racism at a virtual summit hosted by the Boston Globe. His books are being censored in red states but he was free to speak out in Massachusetts.

While the civil unrest of 2020 may have ignited necessary conversations about racial injustice and inequalities, it hasn’t yet sparked the big, bold changes needed to dismantle racism, professor and best-selling author Ibram X. Kendi said in a virtual session presented Thursday by the Boston Globe Summit.

The sweeping discussion with Amber Payne, co-editor in chief of The Emancipator, touched on structural racism, critical race theory, and the abolition movement as a model for reimagining an antiracist society.

“It’s a pretty massive step from awareness to action,” said Kendi, founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research…

Kendi won the National Book Award for his 2016 release “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” His widely read “How to be an Antiracist” offers a blueprint for antiracist activism. He was included in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020…

To dismantle structural racism, you’ve got to understand its symptoms, including racial violence, racial inequities, racial injustices, and the ways in which people are demeaned, Kendi said.

“It’s harder to see the policies behind those inequities, and that’s where the research comes in,” Kendi said of the work done at the Center for Antiracist Research.

The center’s researchers are trying to assess the myriad factors leading to disparities and create evidence-based policies to replace the ones that are proven to be racist and unjust, he said.

It’s not enough for people to say or believe that they’re not racist, Kendi said; they must be loud and radical about it, and actively involved in building a more equitable society.

“To allow anything to persist is to be complicit in its persistence,” Kendi said.

Abolitionism is a perfect model for imagining an antiracist future, Payne said.

Kendi agreed. Abolitionists, he added, were loud, radical, and persistent.

“Enslavers were extremely upset about Boston abolitionists because they wanted them to just shut up and do nothing,” he said, adding that enslavers knew the slave trade would persist and grow if the abolitionists didn’t interfere.

But the abolitionists believed it was up to them to dismantle slavery, because if they didn’t, no one else would, Kendi said.

That’s a mindset that needs to take hold today, he said.

I received the following alarming notice from a friend in Illinois. Some organization wants to know whether schools in the state have any articles or books cited in “The 1619 Project.” This looks like the beginning of a McCarthyite witch hunt.

Subject: Interested in the 1619 Project? Work in IL schools and educational spaces? You’ll want to be aware of this. Public school districts are receiving this FOIA notice from a company called LocalLabs, a Chicago-based publisher (of sorts) that sells its FOIA research to news media outlets of all kinds. The librarians I work with are now scrambling with their districts’ attorneys and compliance officers to fulfill this request. I find it interesting that they’ve cherry-picked these particular titles and perhaps you do, too.

Their intent is unclear; their request, perfectly legal. It’s annoying for these personnel to have to take time away from students in order to comply but that’s our reality in schools today.

The request’s wording demonstrates a relative lack of understanding how school library holdings are cataloged, however, which is making compliance all the more time-consuming.

Here’s the form email they’ve been receiving from LocalLabs, which you can readily access through Googling.

I am writing to you on behalf of LocalLabs which is an online publication that reports on and informs the public about local government activities. If you are not the FOIA officer please forward it to the FOIA officer or reply to this email with the correct FOIA contact.

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting electronic records (preferably non-PDF such as CSV, Excel) of the following:·

A list of all materials in your district that fall under the 1619 project. For reference, the 1619 project contains works with the following titles and authors:

“America Wasn’t a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One”, essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones·

“American Capitalism Is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation”, essay by Matthew Desmond·

“How False Beliefs in Physical Racial Difference Still Live in Medicine Today”, essay by Linda Villarosa·

“What the Reactionary Politics of 2019 Owe to the Politics of Slavery”, essay by Jamelle Bouie·

“Why Is Everyone Always Stealing Black Music?”, essay by Wesley Morris·

“How Segregation Caused Your Traffic Jam”, essay by Kevin Kruse·

“Why Doesn’t America Have Universal Healthcare? One Word: Race”, essay by Jeneen Interlandi·

“Why American Prisons Owe Their Cruelty to Slavery”, essay by Bryan Stevenson·

“The Barbaric History of Sugar in America”, essay by Khalil Gibran Muhammad·

“How America’s Vast Racial Wealth Gap Grew: By Plunder”, essay by Trymaine Lee·

“Their Ancestors Were Enslaved by Law. Now They’re Lawyers”, photo essay by Djeneba Aduayom, with text from Nikole Hannah-Jones and Wadzanai Mhute·

“A New Literary Timeline of African-American History”, a collection of original poems and stories

o Clint Smith on the Middle Passage

o Yusef Komunyakaa on Crispus Attucks

o Eve L. Ewing on Phillis Wheatley

o Reginald Dwayne Betts on the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

o Barry Jenkins on Gabriel’s Rebellion

o Jesmyn Ward on the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves

o Tyehimba Jess on Black Seminoles

o Darryl Pinckney on the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863

o ZZ Packer on the New Orleans massacre of 1866

o Yaa Gyasi on the Tuskegee syphilis experiment

o Jacqueline Woodson on Sgt. Isaac Woodard

o Joshua Bennett on the Black Panther Party

o Lynn Nottage on the birth of hip-hop

o Kiese Laymon on the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s “rainbow coalition” speech

o Clint Smith on the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina·

A list of all books written by authors Ibram X. Kendi (aka Henry Rogers) or Robin DiAngelo that are used in curriculum or libraries in your school district.

The editorial board of the Charlotte Observer wrote about the state government’s failed search for “indoctrination” in the schools.


Charlotte Observer Editorial Board: North Carolina’s indoctrination-in-schools witchhunt was a big, embarrassing dud

North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Mark Robinson launched a witch hunt for teachers and schools “indoctrinating” students. But when  they released their report, the Charlotte Observer was less than impressed.

Lt. Gov Mark Robinson’s investigation of indoctrination in North Carolina schools landed with a loud thud Tuesday, despite the efforts of him and other N.C. Republicans. The probe, which Robinson has long promised would show “proof” of widespread indoctrination in classrooms, instead affirmed something more troubling — politicians trying to intimidate educators based on a false premise of classroom brainwashing.

Teachers will recognize what Robinson delivered Tuesday — a report with a lot of dressing and little meat. It’s the term paper of a student who didn’t do the work and didn’t have much to offer. It was a dud.

Robinson, of course, did his best to claim otherwise — as did Republicans who seemed to be half-heartedly rallying to his support. In an email to constituents, Senate leader Phil Berger couldn’t even bring himself to say that the report showed widespread indoctrination in N.C. schools, instead saying that parents and teachers disagree with Democrats who say “CRT-linked” doctrine doesn’t exist. (Note the goalpost moving going on – from early GOP claims of Critical Race Theory being taught in NC classrooms to now pointing out the mere existence of something resembling CRT in some places.)

Republicans and Robinson, however, would prefer that N.C. students aren’t exposed to topics that don’t conform with the GOP worldview. The Lt. Governor’s report is designed to provide political cover for a Republican bill that would regulate how teachers talk about race and history in classrooms. Such a bill would likely be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, but it will set up a political fight Republicans appear to think will benefit them.

It’s a cynical sideshow that distracts from real issues our schools are confronting, and it’s one more way Republicans can say public schools are failing instead of truly addressing how to help them succeed. What’s going on is politics, not indoctrination, and it has had an unnecessarily chilling effect on teachers, making them self-conscious about what they say in class. That makes an already demanding job more stressful and less rewarding, and that’s not good for North Carolina’s schools or their students.

Read the full editorial here.

You can view the post at this link : https://networkforpubliceducation.org/blog-content/charlotte-observer-editorial-board-north-carolinas-indoctrination-in-schools-witchhunt-was-a-big-embarrassing-dud/

New post on Network for Public Education.

Peter Montgomery: The Right-Wing Political Machine Is Out to Take Over School Boards by Fanning Fears of Critical Race Theory

Peter Montgomery, writing at Right Wing Watch, lays out some of the behind-the-scenes work going on among some right wing groups.

The right-wing campaign to stifle teaching and discussion about racism in U.S. history and institutions is fearmongering about critical race theory to mobilize right-wing activists and conservative voters to take over local school boards.

The Leadership Institute, which has trained generations of right-wing activists, is promoting a 20-hour online course to train conservatives how to run for their local school boards in order to “stop the teaching of Critical Race Theory before it destroys the fabric of our nation.” Critical race theory is an academic analytical framework for exploring the existence and impact of systemic racism. Over the past year, the term has been aggressively deployed as a right-wing culture-war weapon that is being used to smear educators and social justice activists. Campaigns against efforts to examine racism in school settings are often combined with attacks on other initiatives to promote inclusion, such as anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Right Wing Watch previously reported that Intercessors for America and the Center for Renewing America, the latter run by former Trump administration official Russ Vought, are distributing a toolkit that encourages conservatives to “reclaim” their schools by taking over local school boards through campaigns focused on opposition to critical race theory. The Leadership Institute, with its new course, appears to be following their lead.

An email promoting an online presentation about the Leadership Institute’s new training sessions, which begin on Aug. 9, declares that “conservatives are preparing a school board takeover and you can get involved.” The presentation was made by the Leadership Institute’s director of international trainings Ron Nehring, a protégé of anti-tax activist Grover Norquist who ran as a Republican candidate for Lt. Gov. of California in 2014 and served as a spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“The left has spent many years and vast funding to stack local school boards,” the Leadership Institute’s website claims. “America’s children suffer the effects of this liberal domination every day.” The group adds, “Patriotic Americans must take back the schools.”

Read the full article here.

You can view the post at this link : https://networkforpubliceducation.org/blog-content/peter-montgomery-the-right-wing-political-machine-is-out-to-take-over-school-boards-by-fanning-fears-of-critical-race-theory/

Jesse Hagopian is a high school teacher in Seattle and a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement. This column appeared on Valerie Strauss’ blog, The Answer Sheet, at the Washington Post. .

I must be honest. I haven’t been this scared about beginning the school year since I was a kindergartner clutching my mom’s hand on the first day of school.


As a teacher in the Seattle Public Schools, I know I’m not alone in my distress as the first day of school approaches. It’s not just the usual butterflies I still get (even after 20 years of teaching) before school starts in anticipation of meeting a whole new group of youths and knowing I will need to figure out how to meet the needs of a very diverse group of learners.

This year’s back-to-school anxiety is generated from two pandemics: the delta variant of the coronavirus and bills banning teaching about structural racism from Republican Party politicians.

Covid has many educators fearing for their lives and the lives of the families whose children they teach. And the bills banning teaching about structural racism have educators fearful for their jobs and their ability to be true to their students about the history of this country.

Beginning in the spring of 2021, a rash of GOP-sponsored bills proliferated in state legislatures around the country with the stated goal of banning any teaching that “the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.”

According to Merriam-Webster, “fundamental” means “serving as an original or generating source.” Given the genocide of Native American people and the enslavement of African people in the land that became the United States before its founding, you literally can’t teach about U.S. history without talking about systemic racism.

Already in eight states in the United States of America — Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, New Hampshire, Arizona and South Carolina — it is illegal to teach the truth to children.

To date, some 28 states have introduced legislation that would require teachers to lie to students about structural racism and other forms of oppression. The state education boards in Florida, Georgia, Utah and Oklahoma have introduced guidelines banning an honest account of the role of racism in society.

The 1619 Project, and two of the organizations with which I organize — the Zinn Education Project and Black Lives Matter at School — have become some of the primary targets of this right-wing attack.

In addition, individual teachers have come under vicious attacks for daring to teach the truth. Matthew Hawn, a teacher in Tennessee, was fired from his job for assigning a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and a poem by Kyla Jenee Lacey about White privilege. A teacher named Amy Donofrio was fired for having a Black Lives Matter flag in her classroom. At least four administrators in Southlake, Tex., left amid hostile conditions created from a backlash to diversity and inclusion efforts that they were helping to lead.

Even in states without the bills that ban teaching about structural racism — such as Washington — educators are facing a backlash for teaching the truth about American history and current events.
A teacher in the Tri-Cities area had physical threats made against her for signing the Zinn Education Project’s pledge to “Teach the truth — regardless of the law.” (The last part is no longer part of the pledge.) Seattle school board candidate Dan Harder ran a campaign opposing critical race theory in schools. The Chehalis School District passed a resolution that explicitly states students will not be taught that people are “guilty or innocent” based on their race — a straw man argument that suggests educators who teach about racism are trying to shame White people, rather than help youths understand the way multiracial movements can challenge structural racism.

In the face of these attacks, the Zinn Education Project and Black Lives Matter at School have launched the #TeachTruth campaign in an effort to push back against these racist bills.
A central component of the #TeachTruth campaign is an online pledge to teach the truth — regardless of bills trying to outlaw honest history — that has already garnered more than 7,200 signatures.

The African American Policy Forum has joined with Black Lives Matter at School and the Zinn Education Project; all three groups are planning rallies and mobilizations for this weekend. Additionally, Black Lives Matter at School is organizing a national day of action in schools on Oct. 14 — George Floyd’s birthday — and is calling on educators to teach lessons that day about structural racism and oppression.

As part of this weekend’s action, educators and organizers in Seattle are planning a rally at Yesler Terrace — the first racially integrated public housing project in the United States. Many of my students over the years have lived in Yesler Terrace, and it has housed generations of low-income Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), refugees and people with disabilities. But city policy has undermined the Yesler Terrace project, as organizers of the Seattle rally pointed out in their news release:

Yesler Terrace used to consist of 561 homes for low-income residences. The new development at Yesler Terrace only consists of about 300 apartments that are owned by the Housing Authority and have rent set at 30 percent of the household income. The rest of the apartments are privately owned and rented at market rates. There is less low-income housing in Yesler Terrace now.

Policies that have reduced the number of public housing units available in BIPOC communities — after generations of bank redlining restrictions — reveal the way that structural racism works and why it is so important for students to be racially literate.

Yet when teachers help students understand the way structural racism operates, right-wing politicians howl that they are politicizing the classroom. The reality is, however, that students are already talking about these issues and demanding that educators address them.

Students are asking us about why their schools and neighborhoods are so segregated, why there are so many cases of police brutality, why it is so hard to vote, or why more people of color are dying of covid. Educators can either deceive students about the powerful role of structural racism in answering these questions, or they can help students better understand the world they live in so that they can change it.

For me and many educators around the country, there’s no choice. We are teaching honest history because it’s our duty.

I certainly have apprehensions about the school year starting during a pandemic and knowing that the kind of teaching I do can make me a target.

But I also know what side of history I’m on. As the great educator Septima Clark, called the “Queen Mother” of the civil rights movement, once said: “I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.”

State legislatures and even school districts are banning ”critical race theory,” typically based on misinformation about what it is and what it isn’t. The laws and bans are sweeping, and many teachers assume they are prohibiting
discussions of racism, slavery, the KKK, or anything that might make white students feel uncomfortable. Where such views become law, the accurate teaching of American and world history becomes impossible. There have been many shameful episodes in history, and students deserve to learn about them honestly, not sugar-coated.

The National Education Policy Center posted an interview with Professor Adrienne Dixson, a scholar of CRT, who explained what CRT is and what it isn’t. Here is a small part.

Q: In just a few sentences, what is critical race theory?

A: CRT is a theoretical framework that originated in legal scholarship in the late 1980s. The founding CRT scholars were dissatisfied with anti-discrimination laws and the legal scholarship that informed it because they felt it didn’t adequately address the role of race and racism and relied too heavily on incremental change. CRT was introduced to education in the 1990s to address similar dissatisfaction with research in education that scholars believed did not fully account for race and racism. Moreover, scholars felt that multicultural education had become co-opted and no longer had the potential to adequately address inequities in education writ large.

Q: There are a lot of misconceptions out there about CRT. In a few sentences, please tell us what critical race theory IS NOT.

A: It is not about training people to “be” anti-racist. It is not a static or pre-packaged cur-riculum that is sold to K-12 schools or even universities. It is not focused on making White people feel guilty. It is not Black, Asian, Latinx or Indigenous Supremacy. It is not Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.

Q: What does critical race theory add to our thinking?

A: Critical Race Theory helps us think more carefully about how our policies and practices create barriers that prevent equitable participation and success in the educational enterprise

Education Week posted a story by Stephen Sawchuk about seven local school boards that have passed resolutions to ban CRT. There is quite a lot of confusion about what it is, and districts are taking actions that have a chilling effect on discussions of racism, inclusion, and diversity, as well as honest teaching of history.

Sawchuk writes:

This year’s tumultous debates over whether American racism exists, who perpetuates it, and how it should be taught in K-12 classroom settings has saturated the nation’s thousands of school districts. 

About 26 states now have taken steps to curb various aspects of how teachers discuss with students America’s racist past and how districts fight systemic racism. Many take effect this fall, and some of them contain penalties for teachers and administrators, including the loss of their license or fines. 

But as some of the fiercest critics of race-related teaching acknowledge, the most important level of governance over what is taught, which materials are selected, and what training is provided is at the school district level

Communities are defining “critical race theory” in different ways, drawing on everything from scholarly sources, to popular bestsellers on race, to talking points from conservative pundits and critics.


Jinnie Spiegler of the Anti-Defamation League writes in Education Week about the importance of teaching anti-bias education and the history of systemic oppression.

She writes:

As of August 12, 26 states have introduced bills or taken steps to restrict or limit the teaching of racism, sexism, bias, and the contributions of specific racial or ethnic groups to U.S. history. Twelve states have enacted bans, either through legislation or other avenues. Amid the pandemic, these laws add a consequential layer of intimidation, fear, and disrespect for educators. It’s a hard time to be a teacher right now.

Critical race theory is an academic framework that seeks to understand and examine how the law and policies perpetuate racial disparities in society (e.g., health care, education, legal, criminal justice, housing, voting, etc.). We know that CRT is notwidely taught in K-12 schools, nor is CRT a curriculum or teaching methodology. However, the purpose of these laws—beyond politics and inciting energy for upcoming elections—is an attempt to restrict or prevent teachers from teaching about racism, sexism, equity, and other forms of systemic oppression.

These laws can potentially prevent teachers from reading a children’s book about the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, reflecting on Black Lives Matter and what to do about police violence, understanding current day hate symbols like noose incidents and their historical context of racial terror, and much more.

Why We Need to Teach About Systemic Racism and Other Oppression

These restrictions are concerning precisely because they contradict one of the most important goals of education—to teach young people how to think critically and foster a more just and equitable society so that all people can learn, live, and thrive. To do that, students need to understand what bias and injustice are, how they manifest in society—particularly in systemic ways through our institutions—the historical roots of bias and oppression, and how those injustices have been historically and continue to be challenged and disrupted.

The laws and resolutions now being passed by states and districts will have a chilling effect on what teachers think they are allowed to teach. Given the vagueness of these laws, many students will be deprived of honest history.

The McKinney, Texas, school district canceled its successful Youth and Government elective course. Officials feared that the program might violate the state’s new law forbidding the teaching of critical race theory.

In Texas, as in other states that have passed such legislation, the result is predictable: it has a chilling effect on freedom to discuss controversial issues, especially anything related to racism, as it allegedly might make white students feel guilty because of their race.

The Texas Tribune reports:

McKinney school officials long took pride in their students’ participation in the nationwide Youth and Government program, calling the district a “perennial standout”.

Every year, students researched current issues, proposed and debated their own public policy, and competed in a mock legislature and elections process for statewide offices. Since the program’s arrival to McKinney in 2005 as a club, seven of the district’s middle school students have been elected governor — the program’s top honor — at the statewide conference in Austin. In 2017, the district added an elective option: Seventh and eighth graders in two of the district’s middle schools could now receive course credit for participating in the program.

But in June, the district canceled the elective option in response to a social studies law passed during this year’s regular legislative session. In an email to middle school administrators obtained by The Texas Tribune, a social studies curriculum coordinator wrote that “in light of” the new law’s ban on political activism and policy advocacy, “we will no longer be allowed [to] offer Youth & Government as an elective course for credit.” As the law puts restrictions on courses, not on extracurricular activities, the original club remains available.

The teacher who led the program resigned two months ago.

Indiana blogger Steve Hinnefeld reviews Heather McGee’s The Sum of Us, which he highly recommends. As we saw in the Olympics, Americans are different that other countries. We are a remarkably diverse people, and we succeed when we work together across lines of race and class.

Hinnefeld writes:

There’s a “solidarity dividend” to be gained when we work across lines of race and class to improve lives for everyone, Heather McGhee writes in her excellent and incisive book “The Sum of Us,” published this year. Everyone gains when we work together and don’t waste our efforts holding others back.

Conversely, she writes, we all pay a penalty when we succumb to racism and to social and economic divisions. The zero-sum myth, which holds that someone else’s gain is necessarily our loss, lets politicians and the powerful divide us into warring, partisan factions.

Book cover of 'The Sum of Us'

One sphere where this plays out is education. The belief that there is a limited supply of “good” schools — and that they are in affluent communities and enroll mostly white students — hurts us all. Schools become more segregated by race and class. Many children attend schools that are stigmatized as failing while the fortunate pay a premium for the schools they want.

But what if the entire logic is wrong?” McGhee writes. “What if they’re not only paying too high a cost for segregation, but they’re also mistaken about the benefits?”

Evidence that white people are wrong about the benefits of being at the top of our nation’s racial hierarchy is at the core of “The Sum of Us.” McGhee, an economic policy expert and a former president of the research and advocacy group Demos, describes how racism robs people of all races of political power, economic security, health care and other amenities.

The book’s central metaphor is the drained swimming pool. In the first half of the 20th century, large public pools were the pride of many U.S. communities. They brought people together, including rich and poor, native-born and immigrants. But in many locales, they were open to white people only. This was especially true in the South, but there were plenty of examples in the North: for example, Engman Public Natatorium in South Bend, Indiana, initially banned Black swimmers and later let them in on a segregated basis, on designated days.

When the civil rights movement swept the country and courts ordered public facilities to desegregate, a common response was to close swimming pools or turn them over to private clubs. McGhee describes examples where white officials filled the pools with concrete rather than share them with Black families. As a result, white children had no safe place to swim unless they had access to private pools.

Gary Rubinstein teaches mathematics at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, one of the most rigorous schools in the nation. Admission is based on scores on one examination given on one day. The top scorers are accepted, as is the case in several other exam schools in New York City.

Gary wrote a series of posts about these schools and their admissions policies. Here is a link to all of them.

In this one, for example, Gary examines the validity of the test that is required, known by its acronym as SHSAT.

In this one, he asks whether schools like his own are “too hard,” which begins:

Of course Stuyvesant is hard. Like climbing Mount Everest is hard. Like training to be an Olympic gymnast is hard.

Back when I started there 20 years ago nobody questioned if Stuyvesant had to be this demanding. The old principal, Stanley Tietel, used to tell the incoming freshman class “Sleep, grades, and social life. You can’t have all three, you have to pick two.”

Several of them deal with the demographics of the students who are admitted. Like this one, which addresses the high proportion of Asian students in the specialized high schools.

It begins:

Are there too many Jews in Hollywood?

Are there too many transgender people in the military?

Are there too many Latino baseball players?

Are there too many Asian students at the New York City specialized high schools?

Did you answer ‘yes’ to any of the above?

Asian students make up 17% of the 8th graders in New York City. They also make up 35% of the students who take the SHSAT and get 52% of the offers to the specialized schools.

Latino and Black students combine to make up 68% of the 8th graders, 32% of the SHSAT test takers, and 10% of the offers.

Statistically speaking, an Asian student is about 16 times more likely to get an offer to a specialized high school than a Latino student or a Black student.

All of these essays are worth reading.