- Wealthy, mostly white parents paid $US200 subscribe to a newsletter that provided them with inside tips on how to get their kids into the city’s most selective schools, The New York Times reported.
- According to the New York Times, parents who subscribed to the newsletter were told to show up for an open house to Beacon High School, one of the city’s most selective, hours before the event officially started.
- For $US200, members of the “High School 411,” newsletter receive emails updating them on event times, important application tips, and contact information for the city’s elite schools.
- The creator of the newsletter, consultant Elissa Stein, acknowledged that it’s too difficult to get students into high school in New York and said she offers her services at discounted rates, or sometimes even free, to low-income students.
- The existence of the newsletter is just one example of a complex issue in New York City that has made it one of the most racially segregated school systems in the country.
New York City’s top public schools are known for their rigorous, highly selective admissions process. At specified schools like Stuyvesant and the Bronx High School of Science, just about 7% of applicants get in. This rigorous admissions process leads to long lines outside of these schools every fall for school tours and open houses. But some wealthy, mostly white parents, according to a New York Times report, may have had access to an unfair advantage that pushed them towards the front of the line.
Parents of students looking to enroll in the school’s elite public schools, according to The New York Times, allegedly paid $US200 for access to a newsletter crafted by a local admissions consultant. That newsletter allegedly instructed parents to arrive at the school hours before the official opening time. At Beacon High School, one of the most desirable of these schools, nearly 100 mostly white parents were reportedly already lined up waiting for entry two hours before the school officially opened for the tour. Some of the parents, according to the Times, brought snacks and folding chairs to help pass the time.
Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1195317261181079552?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw One Weird Trick to Get Your Kid Into an Elite NYC School https://t.co/NlLsHIUl94
The newsletter, which several parents in the line cited as the main reason they knew to arrive at the open hours early, is called “High School 411.“
“While schools provide basic info, topics like test prep (when to start and what type of prep makes sense for your child and wallet), tours, open houses, interviews, auditions, portfolio submissions, sign-up procedures, website navigation, and more aren’t covered in-depth, or at all,” the newsletter’s sign up page says. Newsletter recipients receive real-time email updates about school events, “insider tips,” and access to a database of influential contacts. All of this comes at the “affordable fee” of $US200.
The newsletter highlights the segregated reality of New York’s public school system
The pricey High School 411 newsletter is just one example highlighting a notoriously divisive and unequal New York City public school system. While New York City public schools are, on average, often as diverse as the city itself, the city’s most elite schools, like Beacon, often fail to mirror that diversity as directly. Despite a collection of elite, life-changing public schools, New York’s system has been decried as one of the most racially segregated in the country.
At Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City’s most rigorous elite high schools, black, and Latino acceptance has been notoriously low. Of the 895 students who received acceptance letters to Stuyvesant this year, according to The Atlantic, only seven were African American. While the city’s mayor has proposed policies that would set aside a certain amount of seats for low-income students, that proposal has been attacked in a lawsuit filed by mostly Chinese activists that say it would discriminate against Asians. Around three out of every four students enrolled at Stuyvesant identify as Asian American, according to the Atlantic.
Elissa Stein, the consultant who started the High School 411 newsletter, said just about 500 parents of the roughly 80,000 students that apply to NYC high schools have signed up for her newsletter. Stein said she offers reduced price rates to low-income students and on some occasions, has provided free access to her services.
- Read more:
- In 2019, getting a private school education could cost you more than $US1.3 million
- New York Education Is Facing A Segregation Crisis
- Teachers were told their student loan debt would be cancelled after ten years of payments, but that didn’t happen. Now they’re suing Betsy DeVos.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.