Oh to be the parent of a child in New York city currently applying to the top-ranked public high schools in Gotham. The New York City Department of Education has unveiled a new school admissions system and let’s just say that some folks are happy about it — and some folks are not. If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, you’re probably the parent of a child with several poor grades and one top grade. If you’re unhappy and you know it and you really want to show it, you’re probably the parent of a child with top grades across the board. So why would the parent of the child with top grades across the board be less happy than the parent with a range of grades? Enter the new NYC DOE admissions system.
As Susan Edelman and Mary Kay Linge report for The New York Post in a piece entitled “Good grades barely matter in NYC’s new high school application process,” “The DOE’s bewildering new system, an effort to boost equity in nearly 400 high schools, is based on a complex mathematical formula. For each student, it will take the single top mark in four core subjects – English, math, social studies and science – in seventh or eighth grade. A point value is assigned to each of those marks. The points are then averaged to determine which of four lottery groups the student falls into. Standardized test scores, used in prior years, and attendance, won’t be factors. Under the formula, a student with grades as low as 65 to 75 in some classes can land in the highest lottery group with kids who earned 90s across the board. All students in the top group will be eligible to attend the most academically rigorous schools. The luck of the draw will determine the freshman class.”
So, under this new system, since students with great grades across the board have just as much of a chance of earning admission as students with Cs in all but one core subject in which the students boast an A, it’s no surprise that the parents of the students with top grades are outraged. What was the point of all their hard work if not to earn admission to a top public high school in the city? The changes, of course, were implemented so as to help diversify the city’s top public high schools, an ever-changing plan long in the works. But will this new system be effective? Will it lead to protests? Will it lead to parents of top students fleeing the city for the suburbs? Only time will tell.
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