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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Health

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."

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