One third of Discovery program offers go to black and Latino students: DOE

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About a third of Discovery program invitations were given to black and Latino students this year, the Department of Education announced on Friday.

The New York City public school system’s Discovery program is a summer enrichment program for rising 9th graders from disadvantaged communities who have taken Specialized High Schools Admission Test scored just below the cutoff score to enter eight of the city’s specialized high schools.

Beginning this week, 1,349 students will receive offers to the program. Out of all students receiving offers, 205 identified as black, 265 as Hispanic, 670 as Asian and 187 as white and nine as Native American.

Last year, 278 Discovery program seats were offered to black and Hispanic students combined, according to the Department of Education.

According to the department, 967 students who received offers have already met the criteria to qualify for a Discovery program seat.  The Office of Student Enrollment and schools will now determine the remaining 382 students’ program eligibility.

The DOE chooses students for a specific specialized high school based on their SHSAT score and where they ranked the high school on their specialized high school application. Each school has the choice to not accept a student at the end of the Discovery program based on incomplete work or attendance.

The final pool of eligible students will most likely fill about 800 Discovery seats, according to the DOE. Last year, only 500 students participated in the Discovery Program.

Students have until May 15 to accept their invitation. The Discovery program is scheduled to begin in July, and we’re working with schools to explore how the novel coronavirus pandemic may impact how the program is held.

In 2018, the department expanded the program to help diversify the specialized high schools, where black and Latino students are grossly underrepresented, with a goal of reserving 20 % of seats at each specialized high school for Discovery students.

“While we’re pleased to hit our initial goal of offering 20 percent of seats to students from the Discovery program, this initiative alone does not move the needle enough for our students,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in a statement. “As we’ve continued to say, a single test does not capture a student’s abilities and until we change the approach, we will see the same results.”

This year, 559 invitations were sent to students in Brooklyn a 56 % increase from last year and a 132 % increase from 2018 and 218 invitations were given to Bronx students, a 60% increase from last year’s 136 offers, and 160 % increase from 2018 numbers, according to the department.

This story first appeared on amny.com.

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