Out with the old and in with the new. New New York City Mayor Eric Adams has done away with former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s changes to the admissions process to the city’s specialized high schools, which include the likes of Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech. The new changes will reward middle schoolers who earn high grades in the admissions process to these specialized high schools more so than did the old system, which was more — shall we say — egalitarian.
As Cayla Bamberger writes in a piece for The New York Post entitled “NYC changes controversial high school admissions process,” “Schools Chancellor David Banks on Thursday introduced the new policy, which goes back to prioritizing academic achievement when screening applicants to some of the city’s most selective public high schools…Eighth graders in the top 15% of their class — or across the city — will be given ‘first access’ for seats, and will need a 90-average or above to qualify for this top tier. Roughly 20% of students will fall into that category, compared to 60% last year — when all students who earned an 85 or above were grouped together then selected by a lottery, said Sarah Kleinhandler, chief enrollment officer at the Department of Education.”
While we believe that New York City’s top public high schools can and must do more to enroll more Black and Latino students and while we applaud the motives of former NYC Mayor de Blasio, we don’t believe the changes made under his leadership were fair. Students who earn the best grades should get priority over students who don’t earn the best grades in the admissions process to the likes of Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech. Yet these schools can also admit more Black and Latino students and still admit top performers. Despite what many of the city’s politicans will have their constituents believe, the two are not mutually exclusive. These latest changes are thus a small step in the right direction.
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