Dec 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

NYC schools will change admission requirements to address segregation

Picture of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio speaking on a podium

Bill De Blasio. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

New York City will change admission requirements in middle and high schools to address segregation issues which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Friday.

Why it matters: New York has one of the most segregated school systems, with students of color — particularly Black and Latino — underrepresented in selective schools.

The big picture: De Blasio, now in his 7th year in office, has received criticism from people who argue that selective schools exclude students from low-income neighborhoods because they may not have access to the tutoring necessary to take the admission tests or navigate the application process, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: The city will eliminate admissions screens — which consider criteria such as a student's prior state test scores, grades, attendance, punctuality and behavior — for middle schools for at least one year. Instead they will use a random lottery system to admit students.

  • High schools will be allowed to do screenings, but must publicly post their rubrics to provide transparency.
  • They are also permanently barred from prioritizing students who live in their surrounding areas.
  • The city will open up grant applications to five more districts.
  • The changes will go into effect for this year’s round of admissions and will affect around 400 of the city’s 1,800 schools' admission process, according to the N.Y. Times.
  • It will not affect admissions at the city’s specialized high schools or many of the city’s other screened high schools.

What he's saying: "I think these changes will improve justice and fairness, but they will also make the process simpler and fairer," De Blasio said.

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