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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.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

The mobile gaming gold rush

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electronic Arts this morning announced that it will pay $1.4 billion to buy Playdemic, a mobile gaming studio whose titles include "Golf Clash," from Warner Bros.

Why it matters: This comes just months after EA paid $2.1 billion to buy Glu Mobile. It also resolves talk that not all of WB Games would get included in the Discovery merger.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Warren Buffett resigns from Gates Foundation board

Buffett and Bill Gates in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — the second-largest philanthropy in the world — is now governed by just two trustees, after Warren Buffett announced on Wednesday that he had resigned his position there.

Why it matters: The two remaining trustees, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, are going through a divorce.

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