NYC’s War on Academic Excellence

Two NYPD School Safety patrol cars parked outside a school on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan before the morning rush hour.
NYC's War on Academic Excellence

U.S.A.-( “I also have a dream.”

This rallying cry, handwritten on a simple white placard held up by an Asian-American mom at a protest this week against liberal New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to radically transform New York City's public schools, says it all. A new civil rights struggle in education has exploded — yet the national media and the usual celebrity voices for equality and justice are nowhere to be found.

While student “Dreamers” here illegally from south of the border garner bleeding-heart front-page stories and nightly news dispatches, the high-achieving sons and daughters of legal immigrants from Asia are getting shafted by far-left Democrats.

And it's all in the perverted name of “diversity.”

De Blasio is hell-bent on destroying equal opportunity and merit-based admissions because the results are not equally distributed according to his social-engineering agenda. The Big Apple's famed specialized schools, such as the Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School and High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, require an academic entrance exam. It's a highly competitive process in which tens of thousands of students vie for a total of about 5,000 slots.

So what's the problem? According to the bean-counting extremists, too many Asian-Americans have aced the test and are “overrepresented.” It's not enough for the social justice crowd to settle for a 20 percent minority set-aside. They want to scrap the test altogether. A bill to eliminate the exams passed the state assembly education committee last week. Though it may die this year, the toxic principles underlying the legislation have infected the left for decades.

Dullard de Blasio falsely argues that white privilege and class privilege are to blame for the lack of black and Latino student representation at the elite schools. The two groups account for 67 percent of public school students but only made up 10 percent of elite school admissions offers last year. By contrast, Asian-Americans, who make up 16 percent of public school students, received 52 percent of offers in the past year.

So are Asian-Americans classified as “white” now? And how does de Blasio get away with the lie that these best and brightest Asian-American students are economically privileged?

Fact: The city's own poverty assessment shows that Asians are the poorest demographic group, with 24.1 percent living at or below poverty — vs. 19.5 percent citywide. The New York Post reports that overall, 45 percent of students at the “elite eight” schools qualify for free lunch.

As I've observed for years, liberal race-fixers believe that “too many” Asian-American students winning school admissions on their own merits is a bad, bad thing. In our case, overcoming the supposed encumbrances of ethnicity and skin color is viewed not as a proud accomplishment but as a political liability.

This is classic crab-in-the-bucket syndrome. If you put a single crab in an uncovered bucket, it will find a way to climb up and out on its own. But if you put a dozen crabs in a bucket, eleven will fight with all their might to pull down the independent striver who attempts to escape. And so it is with the identity politics mob and the equality of outcome cult. They can't stand high achievers and freethinkers who escape their iron grip.

A sad irony of the battle over racial preferences in education is that many of the very leaders who have lobbied hardest to re-jigger the numbers on college campuses to fit a politically correct, proportional ideal are supposedly “progressive” Asian-Americans.

I personally endured attacks from many of them who labeled me and other conservative minority leaders “sellouts” for opposing government-imposed diversity policies that sabotaged color-blindness and punished academic excellence.

Now, those same quota champions are seeing those same policies blow up in their faces in New York City's high schools. “Diversity” at all costs means taking the hardest-working, top-scoring students who earned their seats on the bus — and tossing them under the wheels.

Tell me again who the real sellouts are?

About Michelle MalkinMichelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is host of “Michelle Malkin Investigates” on As well as the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” & “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild“. Her email address is [email protected]

  • 6 thoughts on “NYC’s War on Academic Excellence

    1. It is known the asian people believe in discipline and teach their kids discipline. That is what makes them excel because they are taught to study and achieve good grades. To punish them for achieving is a totally backward way of doing things. I think I just described the way liberals think.

    2. The libtards really do believe that blacks and latinos can not make it on their own, and must be assisted. This belief in black and latino incapability is the very definition of racism.

    3. Gotta’ love commentary! Digs right into the underbelly of the beast, does not pull any punches or claws!

      This diversity stuff did not work at Brooklyn College, CUNY, so now they want to start the process of further destroying the educational opportunities of residents even sooner.

      I can speak from experience on two levels. First, I went to Tilden HS in Brooklyn through my junior year. Moved to Indianapolis for my senior year, and actually enjoyed going to school for the first time in my life! What a difference. Got my average up to C- by the time I graduated. But, I couldn’t be on the swim team there, as I had been at Tilden because my incoming GRADE average was below their standard. Second is that my dad was a college prof at Brooklyn College. He stated that the place went to hell academically after “diversity” was instituted. The smart ones were presented with a much simpler curriculum and learned less. The “diverse” students were frustrated because they couldn’t keep up with even the dumbed-down standards. No winners, mostly losers. And, at taxpayer’s expense.

      Diversity has never and will never work, unless there is a requirement for equal performance qualifications as well. I don’t think Asians have any more native intelligence than anyone else, but as this situation demonstrates, Asians appear to have a much different mindset when it comes to the value of education, and how to maximize opportunities.
      A LOT, if not all of this boils down to parenting and family responsibility and honor. Not how cool one can be hanging on the corner. Having children is obviously not a catch-and-release situation if the process is approached with responsibility and determination.

      Such a shame to continue to waste all that talent and demonstrated work ethic back in my old haunts. Old, as I got the hell out, never moving back after high school. There are so many better places to live in this country, I wonder why the folks with issues don’t bail and leave the place to those who enjoy that mess. The “benefits” are not worth the cost of the dehumanizing, unhealthy and totalitarian environment. Life is a rut unless you kick the ends out and move on.
      But staying put is the nature of the human tribe.

    4. No worries. If they remove the exams within a few years no one will be trying to get into these schools anymore. They will devolve into the quagmire of below mediocrity that has already engulfed the rest of the NYC public school system. Equity achieved! Every school sucks equally and no students get an education.

      This may seem an sarcastic comment, but it is not. Just ask the progressives and they will tell you that equity is more important than anything. Better to have everyone starve than some eat well and a few eat more than well. Better to have everyone in poverty than some getting by and a few who are rich. In this case, better to have no one educated than a few who are and most who are not.

    5. “…liberal race-fixers believe that “too many” Asian-American students winning school admissions on their own merits is a bad, bad thing.”

      ANYONE earning ANYTHING on their own merits is a ‘bad thing’ in the progressive utopia. Personal excellence is not only frowned upon, it is actively discouraged as it ‘alienates and discourages’ low performers, making them feel bad. And ‘feelz’ are what progs are all about. (well, that and stripping you of your rights)


    6. Thank you Michelle for a beautifully written and direct article. Having worked in NYC many years ago, I am appalled at what depths this city has sunk to. It was a dump when I worked there, but is now a sewer. The ‘mayor’ has his own agenda to protect his job, and knows his constituents well. To heck with ‘equality’, he’ll make up his own equality to guarantee his re-election and cushy job.
      Sounds like a ‘politician”.

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