Equity & Inclusion at Hunter College High School – FAQ
How does the HCHS population compare with our city population?
The 2019-2020 HCHS student body is 9% low-income, 6.2% Latinx and 2.4% Black. This does not reflect the NYC student population which is 72.8% is economically disadvantaged, 40.6% Latinx and 25.5% Black.
Are we capturing a representative group of students who could thrive at HCHS?
Of the pool of New York City 5th graders scoring high enough to qualify to take the Hunter admissions test, 47% are low-income and 27% are Black or Latinx.
How do we compare to other specialized high schools?
The current HCHS population is more skewed towards affluence. At Hunter, 9% of 7-12th graders are below the free and reduced lunch threshold. At Stuyvesant and Bronx Science the figure is 42% and at Brooklyn Tech it is 59%.
Where in the city do our students come from?
The bulk of current HCHS students are drawn from relatively few, mostly affluent neighborhoods with little representation of high-achieving students from lower income parts of the city. Census tracked data shows that our population is drawn from just 129 of NYC’s 2164 census tracts.
How does our admissions process compare to other NYC selective schools?
Other NYC schools have updated their admissions systems to promote equity:
NYC Selective Schools: Portion of High-Achieving Student Body Admitted Based on Socio-Economic Status
Anderson School – 30%
Brooklyn School of Inquiry – 40%
Tag Young Scholars – 40%
Bard High School Queens – 63%
Millennium High School Brooklyn – 50%
NYC Specialized High Schools – 20%
Hunter College High School – 0%
Are there good models for change?
Chicago Public Schools have been working for over a decade to develop a citywide model that has achieved significant diversity at their selective high schools. The Chicago model considers:
- ⅓ state test scores, ⅓ grades, ⅓ admissions exam
- 30% of applicants are admitted by strict academic criteria
- 70% are admitted by academic criteria weighted with socio-economic status factors
Using this system, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School – one of the Chicago’s elite schools and Michelle Obama’s alma mater — maintains a student body that is 37% low income, 29% Hispanic and 18% Black.
How might the pandemic affect admissions?
The economic and racial divide between the neighborhoods from which HCHS draws its students mirrors the divide between communities hardest hit by the coronavirus and those less affected. NYC DOE data indicates that 292 of the students who qualified as potential applicants to Hunter’s most recent class of seventh graders live in the 10 zip codes where the coronavirus has spread most. Only three Hunter seventh graders were admitted from those zip codes.
Who can make change?
Hunter College president Jennifer Raab enjoys complete discretion to modify the HCHS admissions system. There are no legal obstacles to CUNY and Hunter exploring options for modifying the HCHS admissions system in order to address the under-representation of low-income, Black and Latinx students at our school.
How does equity and inclusion align with Hunter’s Campus mission statement?
We are publicly funded, selective admission schools for intellectually talented and gifted students. We aim to be a model for gifted education.
Our schools strive to reflect the city they serve by admitting and educating a population of students who are culturally, socio-economically, and ethnically diverse. We seek to serve as a model for combining excellence and equity, serving as a catalyst for change in New York City and the nation.