New York City education department officials are continuing to field questions from parents about a plan to change admissions in magnet high schools.
According the New York Post, in an effort to boost Black and Latino enrollment, the city’s Dept. of Education plans to scrap the current single-test admissions system in favor of multiple measures of assessment, including state test scores and grades.
The department wants to send the top 7 percent of students in every city middle school to the elite high schools. The proposal has been met with backlash from parents at the predominantly white and Asian schools.
Many parents, particularly those from Asian families, have pushed back and lobbied for the current test. Asian students currently represent approximately 62 percent of students at the specialized high schools even though they only make up 16 percent of the citywide student population.
During a meeting on Monday night in Brooklyn, administrators Josh Wallack and LaShawn Robinson spoke to parents in the largely Black school district about the plan, which was met by opposition from parents saying that it could put their kids in the position to be discriminated against.
“People have to understand and be aware of their own biases and beliefs and how those beliefs show up at our school communities every day,” Robinson said. “We know that we have the biases because we can see it in the inequities across the system.”
Felicia Alexander, who has a child in the district, asked Wallack, the department’s head of enrollment, about quality disparities among middle schools and how those gaps in rigor might impact performance at the specialized schools.
“We know that middle schools are not all created the same,” said Alexander. “So, a valedictorian from District 16 [in Brooklyn] gets into Stuyvesant and a valedictorian from District 2 [in Manhattan] gets into Stuyvesant. What supports would be there to help that District 16 student keep up? Because an A in Brooklyn may not be the same as an A in Manhattan.”
Another parent noted that in 2016 a group of Black students at Brooklyn Tech High School complained of marginalization — and she stressed that certain “stakeholders” were vehemently opposed to any admissions tinkering.
Wallack insisted that top finishers in all schools would be equipped to succeed in the grueling academic environments.