Sunday, August 10, 2014

Join us in NYC on September 16!

A little less than a year ago, we launched our successful Kickstarter with the hope that we could tell the stories of students taking the SHSAT. Now, in the editing process, our vision is taking shape and the team behind Tested cannot wait to share that vision with others passionate about public education and social justice. 

We are on track to release our film, as scheduled, in Spring 2015. Next month, please join us in NYC on September 16, for refreshments and an exclusive fifteen minute sneak peek of our film. There will also be a Q and A session with the Tested team. 

The event will be held at the 308 at 156 Project Artspace, located at 156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 308. For more information, including how to join our host committee for this event, contact us at 
Don’t forget to RSVP here and “like” us on Facebook:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

It's A Wrap!

It's a wrap!

After twelve months of filming and with hours (and terabytes) of footage in hand, we've finally completed the filming phase for Tested. Thanks to everyone who's pitched in to get us this far! That includes all of our crew, advisors, Kickstarter and other donors, families, and friends.

With your support, we hired an editor in January who started the arduous process of taking raw footage and turning it into something that sings.

To get preliminary feedback, we showed a very rough 20-minute clip at education conferences in Wisconsin, California and North Carolina. The response was fantastically encouraging:

Teach for America in NYC has offered to host a big screening for their staff and alumni and to use the film as part of their orientation for new teachers. And several colleges have already signed up to host screenings once the film is done....

For the next few months, we'll be:
  • editing the footage
  • scoring the film with original music
  • fundraising
  • building up our website
  • compiling lists of more places to screen the film
  • planning for festival submissions
and more.

If you can help (or know anyone else who can), please feel free to send them our way!

In the meantime, don't forget to like us on Facebook.

We'll post up clips over the summer to give you a feeling for how things are coming together, so stay tuned.  : )

Thanks to all,
The Tested Team

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stuyvesant Admissions by Borough (2012)

This chart is excerpted from An Action Plan for Fixing Specialized High School Admissions Process, a 2012 publication from the Bronx Borough President's office:

Of the 967 Stuyvesant offers made to NYC students in 2012:

  • 360 came from Queens
  • 326 came from Brooklyn
  • 252 came from Manhattan

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Post-Production Update

The Tested team is wrapping another week of filming in New York as students early anticipate the results of the SHSAT.  Here's an update from Curtis on the state of the film, as well as the next steps in the production process.

Dear Friend,

Thanks again for supporting our film, Tested. We couldn’t do this without you!

Here’s an update, in case you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to:

The students took the test in late October. The families are now awaiting the results, which the NYC Department of Education should be releasing either in late February or early March. (It depends when they’re done calculating the results.) We’ll be there to film that, as well as where the students decide to attend.

We’ve hired an editor who has started to organize all the footage we have so far. We will be looking for a composer soon. We’d like to include some original work from students, but don’t know if that will be possible. Let us know if you have any leads!

We’re also building up our website, Once it’s up, you’ll be able to keep track of our progress, engage in a discussion on education and order more Tested merchandise. Until then, you’ll be routed to our facebook page.

We’re also planning a few dinner party/meet and greets to help raise awareness and funds. We’ll be in Boston and Chicago this spring. Let us know if you can help!

Thanks again!

Curtis Chin


Sunday, February 2, 2014

De Blasio Unveils Education Priorities in Five-year Program

Last week, NYC education officials unveiled a new five-year capital budget that slashes funding for charter schools, while fulfilling Mayor de Blasio's campaign promise to provide universal Pre-Kindergarten for all city students. The proposal boosts the city's capital budget for education by an additional 800 million, to a total of 12.8 billion.

De Blasio refuted the notion that the approximately 210 million in cuts for charter schools was necessarily going to be used to fund the Pre-K program, telling CBS New York:

“We were simply saying we do not believe the money should be devoted to charter expansion,” [...]“We think it should be freed up for other priorities. 

These priorities include ending the use of trailers and other temporary facilities that have become permanent structures at schools with overcrowding, as well as reducing class sizes across the city.

Marti Adams, a spokesperson for the de Blasio administration, further explained to the NY Daily News:

“It’s a reflection of the city’s new priorities to shift resources from charter expansion to traditional public schools.” 

Proponents of charter schools however, reacted with dismay in the halt in the expansion of charters, which currently have an enrollment of 60,000. The schools were hailed as a model of "oversight and accountability" by the Bloomberg administration and enjoyed rent-free space in existing public school facilities.

While these proponents tout the success of these schools in providing seats to low-income and minority children, critics decry the diversion of public funds to semi-private schools that have been able to "cherry-pick" students. Several parents have made allegations against these schools of harsh discipline against developmentally disabled and other special needs students in order to gain a pretext to send them back to the public school system.

The budget proposal will face approval in March by the Panel for Educational Policy.

Mayor de Blasio touched on the SHSAT several times during last year's campaign by expressing his desire to make the schools better reflect the demographics of the city.

Though there is no word on the future of the test, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew testified before the New York State Senate and Assembly Joint Committees on Education and Finance on January 28th:

In a time when income inequality across the city has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression, these schools, in essence, have become the province of students whose families can afford to pay for intensive test-prep courses aimed at increasing their child's score on the specialized exam. Children who must overcome more barriers in their lives should not be put at a disadvantage. It’s a substantial problem that needs to be fixed, and we are working closely with Assembly member Karim Camara to develop legislation to address this issue.

Read more on UFT President Mulgrew's testimony here: