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Old 02-04-2008, 04:11 PM
1 posts, read 5,666 times
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I was wondering why in some areas of NYC, that kids aren't encouraged as much as in other areas of the city to take the SHSAT and get into public schools like the Bronx High School of Science. I am a student and I live in the Highbridge Section of the Bronx. If my parents and my sister didn't encourage me, I might have shown interest or even applied to the school for this year. Please tell me your honest opinions. I would really appreiciate it. Thanks.

Last edited by InfoSeeker205; 02-04-2008 at 04:12 PM.. Reason: Add Details
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:10 PM
Location: Bronx, New York
2,699 posts, read 5,584,948 times
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That question should be posed to......

1) parents!
2) guidance counselor offices!
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:19 PM
Location: Chicago, IL
190 posts, read 827,994 times
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That's that underachiever mentality that many New York public school teachers have unfortunately.
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:36 PM
Location: Lower Hudson Valley, NY
313 posts, read 857,643 times
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I work in a South Bronx middle school. There are so many facets to your question- I'll tell you what I have observed over the past ten-plus years:
-the culture of poverty and the way some people, adults and kids, seem to acknowledge and accept that their lot in life is to struggle without trying to make their situation, or that of their kids, better. Or they want to, but don't know how.

-a lack of resources in the community, which points to misplaced priorities. I know the new Yankee Stadium is mostly paid for with private money, but my students sit 30+ to a class just a few blocks away. And I don't know why Borders or B&N won't open in the South Bronx. I think if a store opened on the Concourse near the courthouses, it would do a ton of business, from the people who live there and work there.

-Kids are more interested in video games and clothes and iPods and MySpace. I have students who have expensive cell phones and sneakers, but don't own one book. They aren't really thinking about the future. They seem to think that the decisions are made for them, not by them.

-My school, and I am sure there are others like it, tries to involve parents. We send notices for PTA meetings, and have speakers come in, and serve breakfast or lunch. The turnout is always crappy- maybe 5-10 parents in a school of 500 kids. A lot of parents work so much that it precludes them from participating as much as they'd like, and I think a lot of parents are just overwhelmed trying to navigate the system. I don't think of the schools as bein "user friendly" to parents or teachers.

-Teachers are overwhelmed. There are demands on top of demands, kids who can't read in the 8th grade, classes that have way too many kids, classes with kids who have serious problems but can't get the needed resources. I wish I could say that I can give every student I have every bit of attention and support he or she needs, but I'm just not able to do it.

- And parents seem to let their kids run the show. (Not all of them, of course) I've had parents say to me "Well, I tell him/her to turn of the computer/hang up the phone/stop playing video games but he/she won't." My dad would have had no problem unplugging the computer or phone and there were times when our Atari was unhooked and locked up. Parents are afraid to step up, and this is something that goes across class lines.

Ultimately, though, if YOU want to be successful, you have to count on yourself. Yes, it's important to have encouragement. But you need to dig inside yourself if you want to do something with your life and not wait for someone to tell you to do it. Granted, most of my kids who do well have a lot of family support, but I have also met kids who don't who still go on to do amazing things. If you express these feelings to a teacher, I would hope that he or she would also want to support you.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:52 PM
506 posts, read 1,830,109 times
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Well, I went to a magnet school on the UWS and was told that I wouldn't pass the examination despite high grades and a consistent strong academic record. I am not from the UWS, but from Upper Manhattan. To my principal's chagrin, not only did I pass the exam but was admitted to one of the three schools. No small feat.

My point is that sometimes the parents and children are often discouraged (as I was) and must fight against that and pursue the best education possible regardless of socio economic background.
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:29 PM
1 posts, read 4,825 times
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The issues surrounding whether or not someone is successful depends on an internal drive to succeed, being a product of one's environment, and one's friends -- the free will they use to choose these friends. Let's stop making excuses and pointing the finger of blame at "society". People of every religion and race and gender have succeeded no matter the school attended. Some never graduated but became wealthy anyway.
I am a proud Bronx-ite... Pelham Parkway, to be exact. Yes, our neighborhood has become diverse, and due to blockbusting, those who remained were subject to the aftermath of the original ("scared") people leaving... Leaving us with a series of landlords who accepted any city deals and renters, no reference letters or background checks for incoming inhabitants.... 99cent stores where we once had Kosher butchers, delicatessens, clothing stores, decorators, and bakeries... We are trying to resurrect our area, and with some team effort from the newer inhabitants... if they want to respect where they live... they can have a very beautiful neighborhood that took generations to build, and a short time to depress.
If the children are our future, the parents and guardians need to raise the expectations from their children. Demand more. Pelham Parkway -- it is not devastated.
Graduate, Bronx High School of Science.
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:37 PM
8,752 posts, read 14,155,934 times
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TeaJay I think your assessment was correct..these are all factors. Interesting comment Mgross. I took the test but did not get in! I should have prepared. Infoseeker, whether it is Bronx Science, or any school, once you graduate and enter your profession, the BEST way to solve this problem is to GO BACK to your elementary school and high school and share your experiences and advice to those that don't have any guidance or resources. If somebody had COME BACK to discuss these options with you at your school, I think it would have made a difference for you and others like you. Don't forget those you are leaving behind when you "make it."
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:09 PM
Location: Queens
467 posts, read 1,422,352 times
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Originally Posted by InfoSeeker205 View Post
I was wondering why in some areas of NYC, that kids aren't encouraged as much as in other areas of the city to take the SHSAT and get into public schools like the Bronx High School of Science. I am a student and I live in the Highbridge Section of the Bronx. If my parents and my sister didn't encourage me, I might have shown interest or even applied to the school for this year. Please tell me your honest opinions. I would really appreiciate it. Thanks.

Sadly, I think it's because of low expectations for many of our NYC youth.
Many of these kids do need to be pushed, and if they don't have parents pushing them, it would be great if they had teachers pushing them and preparing them for the test. I know this test just passed last weekend, and a lot of students at my school took it. This year two teachers did a morning prep to prepare them for the test.

More kids should be encouraged to take it.
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:15 PM
Location: Queens
467 posts, read 1,422,352 times
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I agree with the people who said it needs to come from within- that inner drive to succeed and make something of yourself; however, kids at 12/13/14 also might need a little pushing and someone in their corner who believes in them and has high expectations. Children rise to these high expectations. Also, they might need some guidance and learn about the schools, and the test and understand that they have options. Parents should be helping with this, but so should teachers and guidance counselors.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:46 PM
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Your question is an interesting question, which is one that I have pondered on. I had to teach a course for specialized HS(s) focusing on Bronx High School of Science. The statistics right now are against Hispanics and Blacks. Approximately, 26,000 students in NYC take the specialized test. For each of the science related specialized high test only about 700 make it into each school. Of these 700 only 2% are Black and 3% are Hispanic that means only 35 students make it that are either Black or Hispanic. You really have to wonder why? Although, the fact is these students are not as well prepared as their counterpart, they could be if they simply had parents that were more involved. Let me explain. During the 6th grade many students are provided a "golden ticket" to attend a summer program at one of these HS(s). The catch is the students have to attend during the post summer of their 6th and 7th grade. If they go through the program they have a sure chance of getting into one of these school. Well okay, how many of us ever heard of this golden ticket...reason parents are not involved. Some are aware but do they have the time to take these kids to the program during the summer. They really don't understand the type of opportunity that has been given to their child. It's possible the kid does not want to go because he or she would rather stay at home. Then there are the kids that want to go; however, their school does not offer a program to prepare them. So it is left to the parent to help their child to study for this test. The test is not an easy test. You can buy a book for about $30 at Barnes and Noble, or online. Some parent don't have the $30, although they would not think twice to provide for a video game. If parents were more involved they can make demands on their child's school and request that this type of course be taught. Parents are the power. Remember it is their kids that the Board of Ed is serving. You don't walk into a restaurant and ask the waiter "What am I having today?" If parents work together they can make demands and ask for this type of course to be taught. All it takes is one to spoke to others. Another reason is most kids are not interested in a school that will provide them an opportunity in a field of science or math, for example a doctor or engineer. It seems too unattainable, besides most kids can't add or multiply. Then there are those who can't even get out of regular high school within four years. On the other hand I think it is attainable. I only wish I lived in NYC so I could send my kids to these specialized high school. The majority of parents of minority kids don't really understand the great opportunities their kids have in NYC. If they lived outside of NYC where these opportunities are not free they would.

Last edited by Saysmiley; 09-06-2010 at 04:08 PM.. Reason: spelling and grammer errors.
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