Principal Resigns Over Lack of Diversity at Elite Prep School
A day after graduation, Eileen Coppola resigned as principal of the prestigious New York City Hunter College High School. She presented a notice of no confidence to the president of Hunter College, who is responsible for the administration of the high school.
The controversy at the school stems from the use of a single test to determine who is accepted to Hunter College High School. The test was written decades ago and has changed little over the years. In order to better their chances of acceptance, affluent families turn to professional test preparation. Many argue that the admissions criteria should be expanded to include interviews or portfolio reviews. In fact, a faculty committee recommended the changes, saying that these measures could increase diversity at the school. Only one percent of Hunter College High School student body is Hispanic, and three percent are black. Seventy percent of the students in the public school system are black and Hispanic.
The dean for diversity of the college, John Rose, says the test is here to stay. “Parents, faculty members and alumni feel very strongly that the test is very valuable in terms of preserving the kind of specialness and uniqueness that the school has,” he told The New York Times.
It’s not just Coppola and teachers speaking out against the lack of diversity. In an address at graduation, student Justin Hudson said that he felt privileged to have received an education at Hunter. But he also said that he doesn’t deserve it when so many students don’t have access to the same quality of teaching. “We received an outstanding education at no charge based solely on our performance on a test we took when we were eleven year olds, or four year olds. We received superior teachers and additional resources based on our status as “gifted,” while kids who naturally needed those resources much more than us wallowed in the mire of a broken system.”
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