On September 26, 2012, NAACP LDF, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the Center for
Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College filed a Complaint against New
York City and New York State, alleging that their admission practices result
in the exclusion of most African American and Latino students from the City's
high schools that provide the best opportunities for these children's futures.
The complaint points to better admissions practices used for other selective high
schools and used by colleges.
The complaint alleges the admissions system violates Title VI of the federal
Civil Rights Act and, therefore, was filed with the Office of Civil Rights
(OCR) at the US Department of Education because OCR has the authority to enforce
Title VI. The complainants ask OCR to require the City and State to modify
their admissions criteria.
Each year, admission to the City's elite high schools for thousands of 8th
graders is based on a single score on a single test. See "Staking
too much on one test," an op-ed by Damon Hewitt and Rachel Kleinman in the
New York Daily News.
As explained in the complaint, the following organizations are
the complainants, and they have "members who are African-American and Latino
students (and/or parents of these students)," who "excelled in middle school
and have shown promise for academic and civic leadership" but did not gain
admission to any of the elite high schools:
- New York City Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ)
- La Fuente
- Alliance for Quality Education (AQE)
- New York Communities for Change
- Black New Yorkers for Educational Excellence
- Community Service Society of New York
- Garifuna Coalition, USA Inc.
- Make the Road New York
- Brooklyn Movement Center
- UPROSE, and
- DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving).
Title VI is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and provides that recipients
of federal funds may not exclude students from participation in their programs
or activities on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Both of the
Departments of Education of the City and the State are recipients of federal
The regulations implementing Title VI also prohibit a recipient of federal
funds from using criteria that have the effect of subjecting individuals
to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin. OCR "may
bring enforcement actions against recipients of federal funds that implement
policies with a disparate impact, regardless of whether the policy in
question was motivated by discriminatory intent." (citations omitted)
See, also, coverage by the New