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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.

Jan. 6 select committee subpoenas four Trump aides

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Jan 6. select committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot has subpoenaed four aides to former President Trump for testimony and documents.

Why it matters: Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon were all in touch "with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection," the committee said in a release.

U.S. friends in Latin America are turning to China

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The U.S. is losing Latin America to China without putting up a fight, Ecuador’s ambassador to Washington told Axios, laying bare her frustrations with early inattention from the Biden administration.

Why it matters: Ecuador isn't alone. China has deepened its engagement in the region, and it's now the top trading partner for many of the region's largest economies. That gives Beijing considerable leverage in a region historically dominated by the U.S., and makes Latin America a major frontier in the global competition for influence.

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