Frequent objections to the SHSAT and the NYC’s elite Gifted and Talented Schools have frequently failed.
Even with significant backing, passing the bills — one in each chamber — might be difficult. The bills seek to change a 1971 law that makes the exam, known as the Specialized High School Admissions Test, the only measure that can be used to admit students to Stuyvesant High School, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School.
The law was passed to appease parents, most of them white, who were worried about Board of Education proposals to introduce other criteria to diversify the schools, as backers of the new bill want to do.
And the test remains popular in some quarters, particularly among Asian and other immigrant groups who see passing the test as an attainable steppingstone to a good college and later success. While in office, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg consistently said he saw no need to tweak the state law, known as the Hecht-Calandra Act. The new bills say the city should create an admission “power score” that would factor in a student’s grade point average, attendance and state exam scores, as well as the specialized admissions test, known as SHSAT.