No $50 million music hall, yet these kids still want to go there.

Stuyvesant High puts on a show

Stuyvesant High puts on a show

Stuyvesant High, where admission is determined solely on academic ability, announces its incoming freshman class:

Kay Hymovitz points to the demographic breakdownof the entering freshman class at Stuyvesant High School. Stuyvesant is one of New York’s specialized public high schools where entrance is determined solely by Specialized High School Admission Test scores:

Stuyvesant offered admission to 9 black students; 24 Latino students; 177 white students; and 620 students who identify as Asian.

It’s possible that the “white” numbers are down somewhat because in NYC’s increasingly “rich man, poor man” society with no middle class, the wealthy whites may ship their progeny off to private school. Still, the discrepancy between races is interesting and someone might want to look into why one culture is doing so much better at inculcating a determination to excel in its youngsters (hint: it probably doesn’t emphasize expensive sneakers, video games and pills from mom’s medicine cabinet).

And while it’s the racial composition that’s drawing the media’s attention: nothing scarier than to see the faces of those who are eating the lunch of the children of us white folks, of more local interest is that, although Stuyvesant has a curriculum rich in humanities (and check the link to see what a real school looks like), does anyone really think the draw is its auditorium? Instead of another MISA committee, maybe our BOE should form a committee to travel to lower Manhattan and learn how quality education is done. And then bring some ideas back home.


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32 responses to “No $50 million music hall, yet these kids still want to go there.

  1. greenwich dude

    in greenwich, we should probably start by requiring an aptitude test just to make it onto the BOE. i wonder who would make it. or maybe we could just dissolve the current BOE and snag a few members of stuyvesant ’17 to run both BOE and town?

  2. Old Coot

    I’d be interested in seeing what becomes of the asian Stuyvesant grads a decade out. Where do they get jobs? When you look at the finance houses, like Goldman etc, most of those guys are white bread and former Brunswick-boarding school prepsters. The Asians don’t seem as visible in the corporate world to my eye. But my view may be slanted. [tee hee].

    • Judging from my client base, Brunswick grads aren’t buying houses in Greenwich anymore, but they are coming back to town, and their return home may keep their parents ensconced in that back country mansion for another couple of decades.

      I suppose that’s encouraging news for real estate because where there’s a need, there’s demand.

  3. InfoDiva

    Old Coot, the “brains” behind Wall Street’s traders are quants–and they are overwhelmingly Asian. Often, the reason that they don’t advance to top management status is lack of perfect English-language communication skills.

    My advice would be to look out for the US-born children of these quants in a few years. With English as a first language, and the same drive, determination, and brilliance of their parents, we’re all going to be very lucky to have them here.

    • Old Coot

      I didn’t mean to imply they aren’t pure genius. I’m just saying its too bad they aren’t the corporate faces yet. They should be.
      Greenwich Gal is right that the Asian kids I see choose not to assimilate. Whether at Stuyvesant or Andover, they do prefer to stick together. I don’t happen to see that as a bad thing.

      • As opposed to hanging out with a gang of lazy, spoiled, resentful, pot smoking rich kids, I’d say those achievers are making a sound decision. Of course, their grandchildren will probably succumb to the charms of our modern degenerate society and thereby make room for another group of hungry ambitious immigrants. So it goes.

  4. Greenwich Gal

    The Asian are succeeding academically, there is no doubt. It is culturally based. The kids who knock it out of the park academically are usually Asian and their parents are the reason. If they don’t make A’s they get punished. Academic success is prized above all else. There is intense pressure. I have noticed that – at least in the boarding school model – the Asian kids don’t really play sports and don’t leave their room much. And they don’t assimilate at all.

    • Old Coot

      I know a lot of city Jewish families who put tons of pressure on their kids academically. I didn’t make those demands of my children but I’m not convinced I shouldn’t have. I think there’s plenty to be made for the case of pushing kids to excel. To what degree becomes the issue.

      • I have only a vague notion of Jewish culture during the early part of the last century but it’s easy to make the observation that an entire generation of New York Jewish children rose from their impoverished childhood to at least middle class status based, it seems on their parents’ respect for education and the pressure the culture placed on young people to excel.
        It’s ironic that any respect accorded public education today would be misplaced, the result of curriculum changes advocated and imposed by those same Jewish children and their fellow liberals among the goyim.

        • anon

          Many of us have grandparents who were immigrants, coming to the USA with little to no education. Italian, Irish, German, Polish, whatever, they made sure, despite their poverty, that their children would be educated. And that often meant the Brooklyn public school system. And look at all the success those baby boomers have made. All because no one handed them a thing. They had to fight for it. Obama is making such a serious mistake in the philosophy of this country, that he revels in handouts, and that trickles down into our school mentality. Witness, the NYT cover story now: Rights of a Transgender 6 year old school test. We’re screwed as a country. Screwed.

        • firsttimebuyer

          Many conservative jews. The RJC is a growing organization. (Republican Jewish Coalition).
          I have a radical thought: could there be a difference in average IQ among the different groups?

    • Anonymous

      untrue, but if it makes you feel better, go with it.

    • InfoDiva

      Don’t leave their rooms much? I don’t know where you’re getting your information. Have you looked at the team rosters at Andover, for example, lately? Tennis, squash, swimming, track…all the rosters abound with Asian names.

      Football, not so much.

  5. Chief Scrotum

    Most kids who do very well academically don’t play a lot of sports, and aren’t well viewed by their peers or the peers’ parents. Good grades and good scores trump sports, and other “activities”. But no one wants to hear that, so they say your kid doesn’t “assimilate” or isn’t “social” or.the parents don’t have enough money .or..or. .until GS hires the kid, then the kid is a genius.

    • Old Coot

      Chief: disagree. Look at all the ivy athletes. You can’t get into Princeton or Dartmouth on an athletic scholarship. You have to have the brains. The ivy athletes don’t tend to make sports a profession but use it as a base for how to be a good team player in life. I’d hire the brainy athlete before just the brain.

      • Chief Scrotum

        Coot- Simply not true. Ivys set aside a certain number of spots for “athletes”, band, etc. to satisfy alums who give and want to hang their hat on something. Of course, a recruited athlete who can spell, or has good scores may get in to raise the overall team average, but isn’t likely to be a starter. Obviously there are exceptions.

        As for hiring the smart, sports, frat Ivy kid – it may open the door, but most aren’t that smart or know how to work hard. And are politely shown the door after a few years.

        • Yes and yes, Chief. I have several friends who by their own admission got into an Ivy because of their rowing prowess or football or basketball skills. Alumini – those would be the people with the money – tend to keep in touch with Mother Yale, say, via the football team, so it’s important to give them something to cheer about, however laughable that “something” is.
          You’re also right, at least from what I’ve observed, that those degrees however obtained (and isn’t it interesting that, once in via whatever door, no one flunks out of an Ivy?) do provide the all-important connections necessary to land a first job but after that, no performance, no pay. And no job – most of the saps end up selling real estate in the suburbs!

  6. Publius

    The Asians in this country today are in a sense the Eastern European Jews of the early to mid 20th century. The parents may not have been born here and they might not be fluent in the English language but you can bet that their children succeeded. Little or no sports, no popularity contests or other distractions to deter them from top of the class; music yes, violin, cello, piano or a combination of all 3, yes. Cold fusion experiments in the kitchen on the weekends, maybe.

    Referring back to a CF blog post a few weeks back regarding the deplorable stat that 80% of NYC public school kids entering the CUNY system need remedial work in reading, writing and math, remember that the CUNY system produced 12 Nobel laureates many of Jewish background. Sadly the most recent graduate of CUNY to win a Nobel was the class of 1954!!
    There is another school in NYC that has a competitive exam requirement, the Bronx HS of Science, again this school is heavily Asian and has produced many Nobel laureates. In the case of Stuy and Science there is the annual complaint by non-Asian parents that these schools have too many Asians ergo the exam is “not fair”. For those that think that there is no opportunity in this country for children of immigrants think again. Although Asians in this country are mathematically a minority, they are not treated as such because they are too successful, much like the children of Eastern European Jews in the first half of the last century.

    • Ha! Here in Greenwich our educators love Asians because they do count as “minorities”, and their 10% representation bumps us up to a 20% minority school system, thereby helping us avoid the strict scrutiny of the state. Oh – they raise our test scores, too. Win win.

      • Publius

        I will assume that the Asian students opt out of the everyday math curricula and take their math requirements on their own time at Yale…….

  7. Patsandsox

    I went to Ivy in 60s as one of 4 Asians (one from Hawaii, one from a mountain state) in class of 800+. So these numbers are of course astounding. Tempting to say this is just result of extreme parental (and peer) pressure but i think some of that’s a bit of a caricature from tiger mom. More than anything, the culture always placed an inherent high value on educational achievement, and teachers always viewed with respect. The only barrier-to-entry for excelling academically (within your own limits) is self determination and discipline, not access to capital. Of course there are asian kids who score perfect 1600 sat’s but have no social or athletic skills but many many more who do. I really don’t know anything about school economics but i do think Chris hits nail on head when he questions a society which thinks a great education comes from a fancy building. Nice to have but probably much better to pay teachers dramatically more and elevate their standing in society.

  8. Libertarian Advocate

    Patsandsox: Nice to have but probably much better to pay teachers dramatically more and elevate their standing in society.

    I agree, but would add the following of them as a condition precedent to higher remuneration and status: competence in their fields and performance of their jobs.

    • Old Coot

      Lib: excellent point. The teachers union can’t stand the word competence. It’s all about compensation.

      Back to the subject of ivy athletes. While their athletic ability can most assuredly get them in, my point was that it doesn’t give them a free ride. No full athletic scholarship. At least that’s how I understand it. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  9. What you know? Who you know?

    Does intelligence lead to success?

    Stanford offers primo courses
    As do other universities

    As an experiment, I wonder if knowledge can bring success without credentials in this world. Certainly not in medicine. Probably not in finance. YES for hacking, gambling, day trading, addictive drugs and race car driving. 🙂

    • And YES for Blogging! 🙂

      As for race car driving, speaking as the mother of a motorcycle racer (not the sissy pants dirt kind, the real deal kind where on a turn your knee is almost touching the road) his intelligence led him to a whole lot of success and earning power. He didn’t go to Stanford but the concentration he needs every second of every race is real brain power put to a life or death test.

      So too our soldiers and as a proud parent of a sniper who served in Afghanistan, another non-Stanford grad, I’d put his intelligence up with any person in finance (and on days, he had to be a quasi doctor, helping his wounded warriors off the field).

      While I understand your point, and it is well taken, it doesn’t always apply to the real world, where my four happen to reside.

      • What you know? Who you know?

        My point is that everyone has access to the same education without having to pay the piper tuition. But, access to the corporate public pinnacle SEEMS to demand a sheepskin from a few special farms.
        Those achievers without credentials must seek alternative outlets.

        • Well for those of us who detested the corporate life, I’d say we’re lucky there are alternatives. When the new world order is established choice will probably between hoeing on the collective farm or sitting in a cubical in the workers union headquarters.

  10. firsttimebuyernotconcernedwithPCnonsense

    ummm…. who is Dr. Shockley? Inventor/Eugenics guy Shockley? Ha!
    I am not an advocate of eugenics. Just saying what no one is willing to say: maybe people are different. Otherwise we would see more Jewish basketball players… for instance. Some specific groups of people are taller, some better at certain sports. Why would it be wrong to surmise maybe intelligence varies?

    • I’m away from my computer, but I recall Shockley as the scientist who wrote of a “bell curve” of IQs and ran afoul of the political correctness patrol back in the 80s. Don’t remember him delving into eugenics, just his observations on race and intelligence.
      But that’s my memory- maybe he went beyond observation to advocacy – don’t know.