''I don't feel like a minority.'' At a top public school in New York, students question segregation label.

BROOKLYN TECH is regarded as a diamond in the city's educational crown. 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 desperate ethnicities, culture languages and skin colors.

Student Tausifa Haque, a 17-year-old daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants in New York City, walks in the morning from family's apartment in the Bronx to her subway and rides south to Brooklyn, a journey of 90 minutes.

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 and is one of the largest and most academically rigorous high schools in the country.

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.''

Brooklyn Tech is also subject to persistent criticism and demands for far-reaching reforms, along with other test screened public high-schools across the United States.

Liberal politicians, school leaders and organizers argue that such schools are a bastion of elitism and, because of low enrollment of Black and Latino, yet they account for 15 percent of Brooklyn Tech's population.

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.

Some critics imply that the presence of so many South and East Asian students, along with the white students, accentuates this injustice.

BUT several dozen interviews with Asian and Black students at Brooklyn Tech paint a more complicated portrait. These students speak of personal journeys and struggles at a far remove from the assumptions that dominate the raging battles over the future of specialized high schools.

Fully 63 percent of Brooklyn's Tech students are classified as economically disadvantaged. Census data shows Asians have the lowest median income in the city, and a majority speak a language other than English at home.

Student 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.''

The honour of this publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks Michael Powell.


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