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Debate on School Diversity Ignited

September 20,2010 by: admin

Elena Kagan, the newly confirmed justice of the United States Supreme Court is an alumnae of Hunter College High School in New York City, a public school for intellectually gifted individuals. This should be pride and triumph for the Hunter College High School but lately, this popular public school is in turmoil. Majority of the school’s faculty is now in uproar due to the resignation of a well-known principal which actually is the third resignation in just five years.

Eileen Coppola, the principal who just filed a resignation at Hunter College High School last June of the present year 2010 stated several reasons for leaving the institution during her departure speech which includes the lack of diversity in the school which was the same subject addressed by one of its very few African -American students during the graduation which was a day before the principal’s resignation.

Few hours after Coppola’s address, Kagan’s brother, Irving who is a member of Hunter High teacher’s committee loudly read a notice stating no confidence to the school’s president who does not really give proper attention to the high school which is among United States’ best public schools.Another one of the disagreements between the faculty and the administrators is the use of just one teacher-written admission examination of the school. There was a suggestion of broadening the admission process from the side of the teachers like interviews and observations and for the minority enrollment number to increase.

The elimination of the admission test is something that John Rose, the school’s dean for diversity is not in conformity with. For him such admission test has been an essential part for the school’s reputation and as an evidence twenty-five percent of its graduates have a successful admission to the Ivy League Schools and produced outstanding alumni.

With all the other prestigious city schools in the nation which solely admission exams, the population of Hispanic and black students at Hunter declined over the recent years. In the year 1995, incoming seventh graders consisted of twelve percent black and just six percent Hispanic and the past year dropped to three percent blacks and one percent Hispanics. So the remaining student percentage was forty-seven percent Asians, forty-one percent whites and the eight percent are students who consider themselves as multi-racial.

One of Hunter’s graduates, Justin Hudson received a standing ovation with his speech criticizing the school’s admission process. For his opening remark, he praised the school and expressed gratitude for being a part of it but the next lines surprised the audience.

In his graduation speech, Hudson let out a sentiment of guilt that he does not really deserve to be one of the students of Hunter. While majority of people believe that individuals from Flushing, Bayside and the Upper West Side are far more intelligent than those from Washington Heights, South Bronx and Bedford-Stuyvesant, he does not consider himself one of the intellectuals then.

This speech gave him an ovation from the whole faculty and almost half of the student populace.

Technically, the message was from the faculty. To suppress pressure on its students, Hunter does not name its valedictorian, rather all seniors are invited to make a proposed graduation speech that would be selected by the faculty committee and this year it is Hudson’s that was chosen. This speech is no doubt an eye-opener to a lot.


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