for top high schools
Hoping to increase ethnic diversity in the city’s elite high schools, a Queens lawmaker, several of his colleagues and the United Federation of Teachers are looking to broaden how students are judged for admission.
The group of eight specialized schools includes one in this borough, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, founded in 2002, and longstanding institutions such as Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and The Bronx High School of Science.
Entrance requirements for Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Technical High School are set by the state, the UFT notes in a June 9 online article, and the five others “have traditionally followed the lead of those three.”
Those requirements entail nothing but applicants’ scores on one test, the union says.
Now a group of state lawmakers including Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) is looking to broaden admission considerations to include grades, state test scores and attendance.
The legislators and the UFT say that would allow more minorities to be admitted. They say only 5 percent of the 5,096 students accepted into the schools for the next academic year are black, while 7 percent are Hispanic, 26 percent are white and 53 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander. Nine percent are listed as “unknown.”
The change would not lower standards but draw students “who excel not only at test taking but exhibit other measures of excellence, intelligence and determination,” a UFT official said.
The bill was prompted by a civil rights complaint filed by the NAACP.
AActing under his own executive authority without Congress, President Obama on Monday provided what he said would be nearly five million young people who took out government student loans with a way to cut their payments.
Those who are eligible will be able to cap their monthly bill at 10 percent of their income starting at the end of December 2015. Workers in the public or nonprofit sectors also may be able to get their loans forgiven after 10 years, while those employed in the private, for-profit sector may be able to do so after 20 years.
Further details, including those regarding eligibility, can be found by searching for “student loan memorandum” at whitehouse.gov.
In at least the third break from the Bloomberg administration’s position in a major court case, the city last week dropped a lawsuit seeking to block the new prevailing wage law.
The law requires building service workers in developments that receive at least $1 million in city subsidies to be paid union-level wages, just like employees on public-works projects.
It was passed over former Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, and his administration then sued to block its implementation, claiming it would push businesses out of the city. Mayor de Blasio says employees of the affected businesses deserve higher wages that will offer them “a pathway to the middle class.”
In a joint statement with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and two union officials, the mayor said, “By dropping the City’s challenge to the prevailing wage law, we are taking an important step toward helping families that may be one paycheck away from homelessness and hunger.”
The mayor previously ended the city’s opposition to more oversight of the Police Department and new hiring rules for the Fire Department meant to increase ethnic diversity.
Taxes and government regulations remain the biggest concerns for America’s small companies, according to the latest survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Taxes were the top problem for 25 percent of firms, while regulations were for 20 percent, according to the study, posted at nfib.com.
Optimism is at its highest level since September 2007 but is far below normal during times of economic expansion, the NFIB said.