Mayor announces admission changes to selective NYC middle and high schools to address segregation

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced major admission changes to its selective middle and high schools to address segregation issues.

The mayor and Chancellor Richard Carranza said that the segregation issues have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I like to say very bluntly that our mission is to redistribute wealth. A lot of people bristle at that phrase, that is in fact the phrase we need to use. We have been doing this work for seven years to more equitably redistribute resources throughout our school system," Mayor de Blasio said. "That means Pre-K for all, 3-K for all, advanced placement courses in every high school including those that never had a single one, it means changing school funding formulas, there are so many things that we've tried to do to profoundly balance the equation."

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Raw Video: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio outlines major changes to admissions policies for the city's middle and high schools.



Starting in September there will be equity and opportunity for NYC students. "We will not go back to the status quo," de Blasio said.

Middle and High School admission changes include:
- Middle school one-year pause on screens

- High school: eliminate geographic priority over the next two years
- Expand diversity planning to all 32 districts over the next four years
- Open up grant applications to five more districts this year
"This will make it simpler and fairer to our families," Carranza said.

The pause on screenings makes sense, Carranza said, because the city doesn't have the tests results from the state or the grades from children based on the fact that their education was disrupted by the pandemic.

"It is my responsibility to deliver the highest-quality education possible to each child, so that they are prepared for a successful, productive life, and empowered with the skills they need to chase their dreams and lead us all forward," Carranza said. "This year, we have faced the unknown together, and as we look ahead, we know that opening up more of our schools to more of our students will make our system stronger and more equitable for all."

Students will rank their choices on their middle school application as they always have, and for schools with more applications than seats available for their sixth-grade class, students will be chosen through a lottery-based system.

High schools will be able to do away with screenings if they wish to do so or use previous years' criteria and they must publicly post their rubrics to provide transparency. High schools can still "screen" students for admission, but will be permanently barred from prioritizing students who live in their surrounding neighborhoods.

The SHSAT exam will be administered in students' own middle schools to reduce travel and different cohorts of students. Registration for the test opens on December 21, 2020 and ends on January 15, 2021. Test administration will begin in late January. Gifted & Talented admissions have not yet been decided.

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