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Event Education Pre K-12

Diversity By Decree Is NYC's New Policy for Elite High Schools Constitutional?

Thursday February 2019


John Yoo University of California, Berkeley
Wai Wah Chin President, Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York
Ray Domanico Senior Fellow | Director, Education Policy

New York City’s specialized high schools (SHS), which include Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, are among America’s most prestigious. Asian-Americans consistently outperform other groups on the admissions tests for these schools, and now constitute a majority of their students.

In an effort to increase diversity, New York has changed its admissions policies, starting in 2020, to effectively bar applicants from predominantly Asian-American middle schools from 20% of the seats offered at SHS. In response, parents and Asian-American advocacy groups, represented by the nonprofit Pacific Legal Foundation, have sued, arguing that the new policy amounts to unconstitutional discrimination. On February 21, MI hosted a panel to discuss the mandate through the lens of constitutional law, education policy, and real-world effects on students.

Wai Wah Chin is President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York—a named plaintiff in the aforementioned lawsuit.

Ray Domanico is director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute. Previously, he directed education research at New York City’s Independent Budget Office.

John Yoo, a member of the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Board of Trustees, is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law. From 2001 to 2003, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice.