The city Department of Education has been placing a number of students into special screened and audition schools, such as Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts in Astoria, despite their not meeting eligibility.
“They basically circumvented their own process,” said Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens’ representative on the Panel for Educational Policy. “There’s a process and that’s a process that needs to be followed.”
The policy, which was first reported on by the New York Post last week, allows the DOE to place students in these special schools despite having not passed the tests or auditions required for admission, and in some cases never taking them at all.
According to the Post, nearly 1,500 students across the city were placed in specialized schools despite not meeting the standard admission requirements. Seventy-one schools are affected.
Among them was Frank Sinatra High School, where the Post reports 51 students, including 26 special education students, were placed in the school.
Fedkowskyj said the policy has led to concerns among parents, teachers and administrators that students placed in these schools will be put in a tenuous academic position.
“That’s the fear,” he said, “that we’re basically setting these kids up for failure.”
In a statement, the DOE said the idea is to broaden the number of options to city students.
“This policy was designed to maximize the availability of high quality options for all students,” the statement read. “When screened and audition public high schools do not consider a sufficient number of their applicants, it limits great options for students who might do very well in these programs.”
The policy is not new having been first implemented in screened and audition schools in Jan. 2012. The DOE said that when the policy was implemented, it offered matches only to students who ranked a given school highly in their applications and had an academic background comparable to other students who go to the school.
Nine specialized schools, including Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School and Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, are exempt from the DOE policy because their admissions process is governed by state law.