Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City’s most unpopular mayor since as long as we can remember (at least in our book), has proposed some changes to the admissions policies at eight of New York City’s specialized high schools. The most well known of these schools are Stuyvesant High School, the Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Technical High School. In the hope of tackling segregation in the city’s schools, Mayor de Blasio has proposed replacing the entrance exam to these schools — the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) — with a new system, one that would take into account the student’s middle school class rank and their scores on tests administered by the State of New York.
Admissions Policy Changes to NYC’s Specialized High Schools
And the proposed changes run even deeper. As Elizabeth A. Harris reports for “The New York Times” in a piece entitled “De Blasio Proposes Changes to New York’s Elite High Schools,” “Mr. de Blasio announced another, smaller change on Saturday, one the city can do on its own. Beginning in the fall of 2019, the city would set aside 20 percent of seats in each specialized school for low-income students who score just below the cutoff; those students would be able to earn their spot by attending a summer session called the Discovery program. Five percent of seats for this year’s ninth graders were awarded this way, the city said. A spokesman for the city’s Education Department said the way students were chosen for the Discovery program would also change. Currently, poor students with certain scores from all over the city qualify, but under the new plan, the city would target students from high-poverty schools instead. Those schools tend to have a higher proportion of black or Hispanic students.”
Proposed Changes in Admissions Would Support Diversity
We don’t take issue with Mayor de Blasio’s proposed changes to the admissions policies of New York City’s specialized high schools and we believe he proposes these ideas with a full heart. There is, however, a 1971 law standing in de Blasio’s way which states that a single test has to be used as the basis for admission to Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, and Brooklyn Tech. But, as Harris suggests, perhaps the other five specialized schools can be reclassified so the city can work around this almost 50-year law. Only time will tell…
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