Bed-Stuy Test Prep Programs See Results

Sam Adewumi, a Brooklyn Tech alumnus and Founder of Creative Achievement Success Prep (CAS) tutors local students. (Contributed photo via Kings County Politics)

Following reports that only 190 Black students were admitted into specialized high schools out of some 4,800 students in total, Kings County Politics‘ L.T. Greene takes a look at two prep programs in Bed-Stuy that put the “citywide acceptance rate of 4% to shame.” At Creative Achievement Success Prep (CAS) and Navigate the Maze to Achievement (NTMA), which prepare students for the Specialized High School Admissions Test, 33 percent and 27 percent of their students, respectively, have been offered admission at the schools.

The founders of both say that society has to start properly educating students at a young age.

Allison Bonner-Shillingford, Founder of NTMA, like Adewumi feels the Mayor’s proposal to skim students from the top 3% – 7% of middle schools citywide will set some students up for failure because not all schools have the same level of academic rigor, or supportive school environment,

“Not all schools are created equal. Our culture depends on the DOE,” said Bonner-Shillingford, referring to the black community. “We can’t depend on them, they are failing and we have to supplement what they are doing.”

Greene also speaks to Tanya Van Court, who said she and her husband were “fortunate” to be able to afford test prep for their daughter, who will be attending Brooklyn Technical High School and took the CAS Prep program.

Van Court also believes the test and the swirling debate exposes the failure to consider the potential and resilience of children. She calls it disgusting.

“The predominant education conversation is about grit, it doesn’t take into consideration the child from Canarsie traveling to the Upper East Side for private school daily doing homework on the train. The test doesn’t measure the trials of these children putting up with microaggressions. The test doesn’t measure that the grit and work ethic these kids demonstrate is unparalleled and unmatched by kids who don’t have to do what these kids do because they live nearby and have the resources.

“The predominant culture is talking about grit. We’re not taking into consideration the grit of our kids who are fighting against all odds to travel an hour, and have to get to a school setting where everyone is different to them,” she says of black children accepted to and attending rigorous private schools.

Van Court, Bonner-Shillingford and CAS Prep founder Sam Adewumi, a Brooklyn Tech alumnus, all say that the elimination of a particular program devastated the chances for students of color to enter specialized high schools. Find out what that was as well as how CAS Prep and NTMA teach more than just test prep, at Kings County Politics.

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