New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Education Equity Campaign Announces 31 of the Students in its Test Prep Programs Accepted to NYC’s Elite High Schools

Education Equity Campaign Announces 31 of the Students in its Test Prep Programs Accepted to NYC’s Elite High Schools


Black and Latino Students in EEC Test Prep were More than 400% More Likely to Gain Admission


With only seven weeks of test prep, EEC helped dozens of disadvantaged students of color secure placements at the Specialized High Schools, including 10% of the African American students entering SHS’s citywide and 20% of those entering Stuyvesant

New York, NY — Today, the Education Equity Campaign (EEC) released the results of its inaugural pilot program aimed at preparing disadvantaged students of color for the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Funded by philanthropist Ronald S. Lauder, a Bronx Science graduate, and businessman Richard Parsons, EEC partnered with five education groups to tutor a total of 197 students.

Citywide, 12,422 Black and Latino students sat the SHSAT last year. Of those, 470, or 3.8% were offered admission. In contrast, of the 197 students enrolled in EEC’s 7-week programs, 31 were accepted into a specialized high school, or 15.7%. That means that students of color in EEC programs were more than four times more likely to secure admission.

Of the 190 African American students in the city who were admitted to a specialized high school this year, 20 were students tutored by EEC’s educational partners, including 2 out of the 10 black students who were accepted to Stuyvesant, the most selective of the elite public schools. 

The overall admission numbers to the specialized high schools are a reminder that systemic change is necessary to unlock all kids’ potential, which is why EEC has continued to call on the City to implement free, citywide test prep that runs for at least 12-15 weeks, in addition to expanding the number and capacity of specialized high schools to increase opportunity for all students.

While Black and Latino students make up nearly 70% of NYC public school students, they only account for 10% of admitted students in the City’s specialized high schools; this year follows that same trend. Instead of pursuing policies that would address the root causes of the inequity, the de Blasio administration previously and misguidedly sought to eliminate the SHSAT. However, after NYC parents and students spoke out, the Mayor abandoned his plans to scrap the test.

EEC has continued to advocate for achieving systemic, long-term change in NYC’s education system in addition to creating the tutoring pilot program. The group has partnered with a coalition of state and city legislators to expand access to quality educational opportunities for more students.

Working with a coalition of state and city legislators, advocates, parents and students, EEC helped draft the following legislation, which will bring the city’s school system forward and open opportunities for an unprecedented number of students:


  • A bill by NYS Senator Leroy Comrie that would create ten new specialized high schools (currently there are just 15,000 spots for 360,000 high school students); guarantee the availability of free specialized high school admissions test tutoring services; require all eligible students to take the SHSAT (unless their parents opt out); create new Gifted and Talented Programs and require the city Board of Education to conduct a periodic study on the efficacy of the SHSAT.
  • A bill sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos, Council Member Robert Cornegy to require DOE to come up with a plan to provide every middle school student with free test preparation and automatically enroll students in the SHSAT.


“These impressive results confirm what we’ve been saying all along: when you give kids the resources they need to succeed, they soar to new heights,” said Bronx Science graduate Ronald S. Lauder. “New York’s specialized high schools are the envy of the world. Now dozens of disadvantaged kids will have access to a world-class education that will open up new horizons. I can’t wait to see what they achieve.”

“The public sector often looks to the private sector and civil society to test ideas that only government can truly scale,” said businessman Richard Parsons. “Now that we have proof of concept, the City Council should build on our pilot by implementing free, universal test prep citywide. Only then can we begin to achieve true education equity for disadvantaged kids.”

Tai Abrams, Founder of AdmissionSquad said: “We are so proud of the 16 AdmissionSquad students who earned entry to NYC specialized high schools this year. They worked so hard through our test prep program and deserve this accomplishment. I know I speak for my team, our students and families when I express our gratitude to the Education Equity Campaign for the funding, they provided that helped make this dream a reality for many of our students. As a Bronx High School graduate and lifelong education advocate, I founded AdmissionSquad because I know the Education to Wealth Pipeline is so crucial for our community. While AdmissionSquad has impacted over 5,000 families, it shouldn’t be left to groups like ours. Once again, we have shown that test prep works. Now it’s time for the city to make this resource available to all our students.”

“I want to congratulate our son on his acceptance into Stuyvesant High School,” said Remeise Chandler. “He worked so hard for many months to achieve this and we are proud of him. Thank you to AdmissionSquad test center and the Education Equity Campaign who invested in our child’s education and made sure he was prepared for the SHSAT. This would have never been possible without their help and belief in our child’s ability to achieve his dreams.”

John Chandler said: “I’m so excited I got into Stuyvesant. With the stress and intensity of the past few weeks, this good news is a bright light for me and my family. I want to thank Ms. Tai and my tutors at AdmissionsSquad who sat with me for so many days to prep for the SHSAT. I would also like to thank the Education Equity Campaign for ensuring that I was adequately prepared to succeed.”

"Expanding the number of students taking the exam along with test preparation has quadrupled admissions for Black and Latinx students. The Education Equity campaign has demonstrated that universal preparation and examination can and will improve access to specialized schools for Black and Latinx students - now is the time to pass this mandate and expand equity for the coming school year," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a graduate of Bronx High School of Science.

NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. said: “I have always believed that if you invest in our children, they will do well. That’s why expanding gifted and talented programs has been a cornerstone of my time in office as I was a graduate of a G&T program myself. I congratulate EEC and their students on these impressive results and am proud to partner with my colleagues in bringing programs like this to scale for all of NYC’s children.” 


About EEC:

Since launching in April 2019, the Education Equity Campaign has been a tireless advocate for greater equity at specialized high schools as part of a broader effort to increase opportunities for disadvantaged students across the school system. In August, Education Equity launched a million-dollar public awareness campaign focused on registering more students for the SHSAT and enrolling more black and Latino students in free test prep funded by Mr. Lauder and Mr. Parsons. Since that time, EEC has enrolled 197 students of color in free SHSAT prep classes with $300,000 in charitable funding from Mr. Lauder and Mr. Parsons. The campaign also reached 30,000 middle school students and their families through canvassing outside underserved schools and churches in all five boroughs.



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