“You are not as smart as your peers.”
The New York mayoral candidates just got a schooling in how to make a point.
On Friday, eight hopefuls including Andrew Yang, Dianne Morales, Maya Wiley, Scott Stringer, Shaun Donovan, Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia and Paperboy Prince took part in the Teens Take Charge youth forum, in which they were given an eighth grade math question — and everyone failed.
The teens were arguing against the Specialized High School Admissions Test, which they claim produces a huge race and class disparity, and did so expertly by surprising all eight candidates with their own mini version of the test.
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After a multiple-choice question on the poem Ozymandias, they were asked to figure out the area of a right-angled triangle, and had just 90 seconds to do so.
“I’m sad to say, none of the candidates got this correct,” Proctor Toby Paperno informed them afterwards. “To those of you who got some of these questions wrong, you are not as smart as your peers and will be denied entrance to the specialized high schools.”
“To those of you who got these questions right, congratulations — you are officially smarter and better than your peers.”
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“If you had a bad day and didn’t get some of the questions right — I don’t care and neither does the test.”
“All this goes to show how ridiculous it is that we use one test to determine so much. If mayoral candidates cannot answer these questions correctly in the minute and a half that middle schoolers are allotted — and they are running to be the main executive in the largest and most complex city in America — why on Earth would we put eighth graders through this twisted process that requires enormous amounts of test prep, and clearly advantages those of more means?”
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“Moreover, why do we expect that these questions in these tests to actually measure anything about a student? Why do we still use high-stakes testing when we know how flawed it is?”
The students claimed that in 50 years of testing, the SHSAT has never produced a specialized high school population that in any way mirrors the economic and racial make-up of New York City students.
“Please let this SHSAT to be the last SHSAT to ever be administered,” he asked. “If you are elected mayor, do not administer this racist, classist test.”
Other highlights from the forum included a game of truth or dare, which culminated in all the mayoral candidates dancing somewhat dubiously to the Macarena.
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