Monday, July 30, 2007

CUNY Raises the Bar...but why?

This week, CUNY has decided to raise its admissions standards by upping the minimum SAT math section score from 480 to 510, with a raise in minimum English scores to come.

The main argument for the plan is that it will add prestige to CUNY, putting it in line with other well known public universities: UVA and U of Michigan, as well as private NYC institutions: NYU and Columbia. The editor of the online magazine Inside Higher Ed, Scott Jaschik,added:
Positive changes could include pushing New York City high school students to take harder math classes and pushing principals to improve their course offerings.

While this is an attractive option for CUNY and the NYC Public High Schools, there is a downside. This raise could drive out disadvantaged students who do not perform as well on SATs. This would stand in opposition to CUNY's position as a very democratic and empowering institution.

Considering that so many NYC public school students end up at CUNY (the majority of the NYC Student Union's graduating class is attending a CUNY college in the fall), this is an issue of real importance to high school students. Is the raise going to have a positive effect on CUNY's prestige and trickle down to the high school system, or will it just prevent underachieving students from improving their educational horizons and widen the achievement gap? What do you think? Write your thoughts in the comment section.

1 comment:

Mark said...

What you leave out is that the CUNY model allows NYC high school students and others that do not score high enough on the SATs to attend classes at a community college for two years after which they could transfer and graduate with a degree from the four year school. They are not excluded, but rather they are given a chance to prove themselves and they are given access to classes to help them catch up.