They were worried not just about the fate of the SHSAT, the sole determinant of admission into the city’s elite public schools, but also problems like safety and crime.
They formed the New York City Residents Alliance, which describes itself on its Facebook page as a coalition of “Chinese-American citizens and immigrants working for fairness, justice and equal rights in New York City.”
Most members communicate through the Chinese social media and messaging platform WeChat. But Amy Tse, a member of NYCRA, does not.
Tse met the group at a rally last summer opposing the mayor’s proposal.
“We were outraged,” she recalled. “Why would you want to take away the one thing that actually will help immigrant kids and disadvantaged kids get ahead?”
Tse began attending Community Education Council (CEC) meetings, where parents in the school district discuss education issues. She became involved in the fight not only to keep the SHSAT, but also Gifted and Talented programs.
They met with local elected officials who would listen to their cause. Tse mentioned State Senator John Liu, whom she said “took a stance to help us” and allowed their voices to be heard.
Tse said it was “terrible” that the recent statewide exam results showed that less than 50 percent of public school students were proficient in math and English Language Arts (ELA).
“How is that possible?” she said. “It’s horrible.”
As the contentious debate over G&T and the SHSAT continues, Tse said the alliance will continue advocating for keeping both.
“What we’re all about is expanding opportunities for our children,” she said. “These schools help children and give them a chance to succeed.”