The Ivy Coach Daily

October 24, 2022

Admission to NYC Middle Schools

A piece in The New York Times spotlights the controversy surrounding the admissions process to New York City’s roughly 500 middle schools.

During the height of the pandemic, New York City’s 500 or so middle schools adopted a lottery system to determine which students earn admission to which schools. The controversial move marked a reversal from the ways of old for many of New York City’s middle schools, which typically determined admission based on grades, test scores, attendance, and sometimes even interviews. And why the reversal? Many argued, and rightly so based on the data, that the previous selective admissions system led to disparities in opportunity based on race and socio-economic status. But could things be changing back to the ways of old? The new New York City schools chancellor, David C. Banks, wishes to reinstitute selective admissions at the city’s middle schools. The schools, as it turns out, just may not heed his suggestion.

As Troy Closson reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Bring Back Selective Admissions? Some N.Y.C. Middle Schools Say No.,” “This fall, the schools chancellor, David C. Banks, waded into the debate, one of the most contentious in education, saying that while all children have value, those who work ’really hard’ should get priority over ’the child you have to throw water on their face to get them to go to school every day.’ But he also left ultimate decisions over the selection process for middle schools to lower-level superintendents. They, in turn, listened to principals and parents about whether to bring back merit-based admissions, or whether to continue a new approach, which uses a random lottery and which has helped fuel a modest shift in the demographics of some of the city’s most desired middle schools.”

What do our readers think? Should New York City’s middle schools keep the lottery system intact? Should they restore a selective admissions process? Should these schools split the difference and perhaps keep the lottery system but factor in student attendance and grades — just maybe not test scores and interviews? Let us know your thoughts on the hot topic of admission to NYC’s middle schools by posting a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

And, while you’re here, read about some of the recent admissions changes to NYC’s specialized high schools.

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