New York City’s recent diversity plan showcased an expansion of its high school educational program called Discovery. The purpose of Discovery is to “promote diversity at the schools by offering admission to students from low-income families who score just below the entrance exam cutoff if they successfully complete summer coursework.” The program has existed for years, yet despite nearly 70% of NYC students being black and Hispanic Discovery has not come close to incorporating them into elite high schools.
According to Chalk Beat, “in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, white and Asian students comprised 78 percent of the students who were offered admission through Discovery, a slight increase from the previous year. By contrast, black and Hispanic students made up between 18-20 percent of the program’s offers, a percentage that has been shrinking since 2015.” While the number is extremely low, it doesn’t help that this is the third consecutive year the number of black and Hispanic students being offered places in elite schools has decreased.
Some city officials see the benefit of the program. They argue that the program “gives low-income students a leg up, and more black and Hispanic students gain admission” siting that roughly 20 percent of are accepted versus normal admissions processes which garner about 10 percent.
Regardless, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to expand the program and hopefully increase the dropping numbers. Like most things in diversity how to make these numbers rise and stick will be challenges