Tausifa Haque, a 17-year-old daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, walks in the early morning from her family’s apartment in the Bronx to the elevated subway and rides south to Brooklyn, a journey of one and a half hours.
清晨,现年17岁、出身孟加拉移民家庭的塔乌希法·哈克离开在布朗克斯的住所,搭乘往南的高架线去布鲁克林,这段路要花一个半小时。
There she joins a river of teenagers who pour into Brooklyn Technical High School, who are Bengali and Tibetan, Egyptian and Chinese, Sinhalese and Russian, Dominican and Puerto Rican, West Indian and African American. The cavernous eight-story building holds about 5,850 students, one of the largest and most academically rigorous high schools in the United States.
在那里,她将和一群同龄人一起走进布鲁克林技术高中,人群中有孟加拉人和藏人,埃及人和华人,锡兰人和俄罗斯人,多米尼加人和波多黎各人,还有西印度群岛人和非裔美国人。这座高大的八层楼建筑容纳有大约5850名学生,这是美国规模最大、治学最严的高中之一。
Her father drives a cab; her mother is a lunchroom attendant. This school is a repository of her dreams and theirs. “This is my great chance,” Tausifa said. “It’s my way out.”
她的父亲是出租车司机;母亲是快餐厅服务员。这座学校承载着她和他们的梦想。“这是我的最佳机会,”塔乌希法说。“我脱身的希望。”
Brooklyn Tech is also subject to persistent criticism and demands for far-reaching reform, along with other test-screened public high schools across the nation.
但同时,布鲁克林技术高中也一直受到诟病,被认为需要进行深刻改革,这种呼声还针对国内其他通过考试择优录取的公立高中。
17岁的陶西法·哈克是孟加拉移民的女儿,就读于布鲁克林技术高中。“这是我的好机会,”她说。“这是我的出路。”
17岁的陶西法·哈克是孟加拉移民的女儿,就读于布鲁克林技术高中。“这是我的好机会,”她说。“这是我的出路。” Sarah Blesener for The New York Times
Liberal politicians, school leaders and organizers argue such schools are bastions of elitism and, because of low enrollment of Black and Latino students, functionally racist and segregated. Sixty-three percent of the city’s public school students are Black and Latino yet they account for just 15 percent of Brooklyn Tech’s population.
自由派政治人物、学校领导人和组织者认为,这样的学校是精英主义堡垒,而且由于黑人和拉丁裔学生入学率低,它们实际上具有种族歧视和种族隔离性质。纽约市公立学校中黑人和拉丁裔占63%,而在布鲁克林技术高中学生中只占15%。
For Asian students, the percentages are flipped: They make up 61 percent of Brooklyn Tech, although they account for 18 percent of the public school population.
对亚裔学生来说,这个比例是反过来的:他们在布鲁克林技术高中占了61%,但在公立学校总人数中只占18%。
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Some critics imply that the presence of so many South and East Asian students, along with the white students, accentuates this injustice. Such charges reached a heated pitch a few years ago when a prominent white liberal council member said such schools were overdue for “a racial reckoning.”
有批评者暗示,南亚和东亚以及白人学生较多的情况突显了这种不公正。类似的指控在几年前曾导致一场激烈争执,当时一名地位显赫的白人自由派委员会成员说,这类学校亟待一场“种族清算”。
Richard Carranza, who served as New York’s schools chancellor until last year, was more caustic. “I just don’t buy into the narrative,” he said, “that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools.”
去年离任的前纽约教育局长理查德·卡兰扎发出了更尖刻的声音。“我就是没法接受这种说法,”他说,“那就是这些学校的入学可以被某一个族群霸占。”
But several dozen in-depth interviews with Asian and Black students at Brooklyn Tech paint a more complicated portrait and often defy the political characterizations put forth in New York and across the country. These students speak of personal journeys and struggles at a far remove from the assumptions that dominate the raging battles over the future of their schools.
然而通过对布鲁克林技术高中多位亚裔和黑人学生的深度采访,可以看到事情没那么简单,并且往往并不符合纽约乃至全国常见的政治刻画。这些学生谈及各自的个人旅程与挣扎,与外界想象中的一场围绕学校未来展开的激烈争斗相去甚远。
Their critiques often proved searching; most Asian students spoke of wanting more Black and Latino classmates.
他们发出的批评往往显得锐利而深刻,大多数亚裔学生表示希望有更多黑人和拉丁裔同学。
Fully 63 percent of Brooklyn Tech’s students are classified as economically disadvantaged. Census data shows that Asians have the lowest median income in the city and that a majority speak a language other than English at home.
布鲁克林技术高中有整整63%的学生被划定为特困生。人口普查数据显示,亚裔的收入中位数在纽约市是最低的,多数学生在家说英语以外的语言。
The admissions debate reaches far beyond New York’s selective high schools.
关于入学的争论远不限于纽约的择优录取高中。
The San Francisco Board of Education has discarded a merit-based admissions policy and substituted a lottery at the highly regarded Lowell High School, where 55 percent of students were of Asian descent. “When we talk about merit, meritocracy and especially meritocracy based on standardized testing,” a board member opined, “those are racist systems.”
旧金山教育委员会已经废除了洛威尔高中的择优录取政策,代之以摇号机制,这座极具声望的学校有55%的学生属于亚裔。“当我们在谈论择优、英才教育,尤其是基于标准化考试的英才教育时,”一位委员会成员认为,“那就是种族歧视制度。”
Officials in Fairfax County, Va., replaced the entrance exam at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology with a combination of grades and socioeconomic criteria. The next year the percentage of incoming Black and Latino students jumped and the percentage of Asian students, who skew more middle and upper middle class than in New York, declined. White student enrollment increased.
弗吉尼亚州费尔法克斯县官员取消了托马斯·杰弗逊技术高中的入学考试,改用成绩和社会经济条件结合的标准。次年,黑人和拉丁裔学生占比大幅提升,亚裔学生占比下降,该地区的亚裔相比纽约而言更偏向中产、上中产阶层。白人学生录取也增多了。
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When Asian parents sued, a federal judge told their lawyer, “Everybody knows the policy is not race-neutral and that it’s designed to affect the racial composition.”
当亚裔家长提起诉讼时,一名联邦法官告诉他们的律师,“每个人都知道这项政策不是种族中立的,它的目的是影响种族构成。”
That case is awaiting a decision.
该案正在等待裁决。
在洛厄尔高中, 55%的学生是亚裔,而旧金山教育委员会用抽签的方式取代了该校基于考试和成绩的录取方式。
在洛厄尔高中, 55%的学生是亚裔,而旧金山教育委员会用抽签的方式取代了该校基于考试和成绩的录取方式。 Jason Henry for The New York Times
Brooklyn Tech, which sits in the haute brownstone neighborhood of Fort Greene, is regarded as a diamond in the city’s educational crown.
布鲁克林技术高中坐落在格林堡高级褐石社区,该校被视为纽约市教育皇冠上的一颗钻石。
The school boasts many advantages, as most students are well aware. Nearly all balked, however, at describing it as segregated, not least because the descriptor “Asian” encompasses disparate ethnicities, cultures, languages and skin colors.
这所学校有很多优势,大多数学生都很清楚。然而,几乎所有的人都对将其描述为一所种族隔离的学校的说法表示异议,尤其是因为“亚裔”这个词包含了不同的种族、文化、语言和肤色。
Tausifa looks at the multihued sea of students pouring through the doors of Brooklyn Tech. She expressed puzzlement that a school where three-quarters of the students are nonwhite could be described as segregated. “I have classes with students of all demographics and skin colors, and friends who speak different languages,” she said. “To call this segregation does not make sense.”
陶西法看着从布鲁克林技术高中大门涌入的形形色色的学生,她表示很困惑,一所四分之三的学生是非白人的学校竟然会被描述为一个种族隔离的地方。“在我的课堂上,有各种人口结构和肤色的学生,还有说不同语言的朋友,”她说。“说这是种族隔离是不合理的。”
The Debate Over an Entrance Exam
关于入学考试的争论
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Critics of specialized high schools argue these institutions are out of step with the zeitgeist and educational practice. Better to cast aside standardized tests and seek heterogenous classes in neighborhood high schools, they argue, than to cloister top students. Some studies, they say, show struggling students gain from the presence of talented outliers. And the entrance exam has fueled the growth of a private and inequitable tutoring industry.
批评特殊高中的人认为,这些机构与时代精神和教育实践脱节。他们认为,与其把尖子生集中在一起,不如抛开标准化考试,在社区的高中里建立多样性的班级。他们说,一些研究表明,在学业上吃力的学生能从有才华的优秀学生身上获益。此外,入学考试助长了不公平的私教产业的发展。
Those who champion specialized high schools point to alumni who became top scientists. With few exceptions, these were the children of working-class and immigrant families. The best students, they argue, should press as far ahead as brains and curiosity might take them.
支持特殊高中的人援引那些成为顶尖科学家的校友为例。除了少数例外,那些孩子都来自工人阶级和移民家庭。他们认为,最好的学生应该在头脑和好奇心的驱使下努力学习。
The mayor and school officials preside over a system of 1.1 million schoolchildren, they add, in which only half are proficient in math and 24% of Black students fail to graduate. As Americans struggle to stay competitive with other nations in science, technology and mathematics, why obsess about the anti-egalitarian sins of a handful of high-performing schools that hold 6% of high school students?
他们还说,市长和学校官员管理着一个有110万学生的系统,其中只有一半的学生精通数学,24%的黑人学生未能毕业。当美国人在科学、技术和数学领域努力保持与其他国家的竞争力时,为什么要纠结少数几所只拥有6%高中生的优秀学校犯有反平等主义罪恶?
That said, the dwindling number of Black and Latino students at these high schools is a great concern and a mystery. Bill de Blasio, when he was mayor of New York, suggested the heart of the problem lay with a biased entrance exam.
尽管如此,这些高中的黑人和拉丁裔学生数量的减少是一个大问题,也是一个谜。纽约市长白思豪表示,问题的核心在于入学考试存在偏见。
布鲁克林技术高中坐落在格林堡的褐砂石社区。
布鲁克林技术高中坐落在格林堡的褐砂石社区。 Sarah Blesener for The New York Times
That does not reckon with history. Decades ago, when crime and socioeconomic conditions were far graver than they are today, Black and Latino teenagers passed the examination in great numbers. In 1981, nearly two-thirds of Brooklyn Tech’s students were Black and Latino, and that percentage hovered at 50% for another decade.
这与历史不符。几十年前,当犯罪和社会经济状况远比今天严重时,黑人和拉丁裔青少年通过考试的人数很多。1981年,布鲁克林技术高中近三分之二的学生是黑人和拉丁裔,这一比例在接下来的十年里一直徘徊在50%。
Black and Latino students account for 10% of the students at Bronx High School of Science; that percentage was more than twice as high in the 1970s and '80s.
布朗克斯科学高中的黑人和拉丁裔学生占学生总数的10%;这一比例在上世纪七八十年代是两倍以上。
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To understand this decline involves a trek back through decades of policy choices, as city officials, pushed by an anti-tracking movement, rolled back accelerated and honors programs and tried to reform gifted programs, particularly in nonwhite districts.
要理解这种下降,需要回顾几十年来的政策选择,在反分班运动的推动下,市政府官员取消了快班和荣誉班级,并试图改革英才课程,尤其是在非白人地区。
Black alumni of Brooklyn Tech argue this progressive-minded movement handicapped precisely those Black and Latino students most likely to pass the test. Some poor, majority Black and Latino districts now lack a gifted and talented program.
布鲁克林技术高中的黑人校友认为,这一具有进步思想的运动恰恰妨碍了最有可能通过考试的黑人和拉丁裔学生。一些以黑人和拉丁裔为主的贫困地区现在缺乏一个英才课程。
Citywide, elementary school gifted classes enroll about 16,000 students and are 75% white and Asian.
全市小学英才班招收了约1.6万名学生,其中75%是白人和亚裔。
Getting In and Staying In
进入和留下
A visitor steps inside Brooklyn Tech and finds the honor roll list for last year’s senior class, the surnames offering variations on an old story: There is a Dong and a Doogan, a Goyer and a Huynh, a Subah and a Wai.
参观者走进布鲁克林技术高中,可以看到去年毕业班的优秀生名单,上面的姓氏像是一个古老故事的不同变体:有董、杜根、戈耶、黄、苏巴、韦。
The specialized high schools serve as a homing beacon for immigrant and working-class teenagers. The 1950s and 1960s saw the arrival of Holocaust survivors and West Indian families. Later waves rolled in from Asia and West Africa.
这些特殊高中是移民和工薪阶层青少年的港湾和灯塔。20世纪五六十年代,大屠杀幸存者和西印度群岛家庭来到这里。后来,来自亚洲和西非的人潮滚滚而来。
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Hasiba Haq, 28, lives in Kensington, a low-slung Brooklyn neighborhood known as Little Bangladesh. Her parents grew up on an island in the Bay of Bengal. Her father worked as a taxi driver when she was a student. She attended middle school in well-to-do Park Slope.
28岁的哈西巴·哈克住在布鲁克林肯辛顿一个被称为“小孟加拉”的低矮社区。她的父母在孟加拉湾的一个小岛上长大。在她上学时,她的父亲是一名出租车司机。她在富裕的公园坡地区上中学。
By the time she turned 11, her family and neighbors talked of the high school examination. Her parents enrolled her in a tutoring center, a rigorous boot camp with teenage Asian teachers drawn from the specialized high schools. The sticker price was $4,000. Her parents bargained hard but still paid a small fortune.
11岁的时候,她的家人和邻居都在谈论高中考试的事。父母为她在一个辅导中心报了名,这是一个严格的训练营,由来自特殊高中的亚裔青少年教师组成。学费是4000美元。她父母讨价还价,但仍付了一大笔钱。
“It was every weekend and classes over the summer,” said Haq, now 28 and a producer at TED Talks. “Everyone in the community knew it was your turn to take the test.
“每个周末都是这样,整个夏天都在上课,”现年28岁的哈克说,她如今是TED演讲的制作人。“邻里所有人都知道轮到你参加考试了。”
“It was more difficult than college,” said Haq, a Fordham University graduate. “It was a hustle-and-grind culture.”
“这比上大学还难,”毕业于福特汉姆大学的哈克说。“那是一种努力奋斗的文化。”
Folk wisdom has it that South Asians dominate the test, but reality is messier. Many students in her tutoring classes fell short, and parent and child cried together. Some students dropped out.
民间观点认为,南亚人主导了考试,但现实情况要复杂得多。在她的辅导班上,很多学生都没有达到要求,父母和孩子会一起哭。一些学生退学了。
More than 23,500 teenagers took the specialized high school test last year. Roughly 41% were Black and Latino, and 34% were Asian.
去年有超过2.35万名青少年参加了特殊高中考试。大约41%是黑人和拉丁裔,34%是亚裔。
The examination can be problematic, as it requires knowledge of algebra, which is not offered to many middle school students. Haq was lucky enough to get offered that course. Tausifa, the teenager from the Bronx, was not. Had her parents not paid for tutoring classes, she would have been at sea in that portion of the test.
考试可能存在问题,因为它需要代数知识,而很多中学生并不具备这方面的知识。哈克很幸运地学习了那门课程。来自布朗克斯的陶西法却没有。如果她的父母没有花钱给她上辅导课,在那一部分考试时她就会变得茫然失措。
Some of Tausifa's middle school classmates had no chance. “One Black classmate, really smart, did not even realize there was a test,” she said. “There were uneven advantages.”
陶西法的一些中学同学毫无机会。“我有一个非常聪明的黑人同学,他甚至没有意识到还有考试,”她说。“就是存在不公平的优势。”