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Queens Chronicle

Mayor backs off SHSAT elimination

But schools chancellor doesn’t sound ready to compromise

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:25 pm, Thu Oct 10, 2019.

Mayor de Blasio last week surprised his critics and gave up his hot-button plan to eliminate the Specialized High School Admission Test as the only means of getting into the city’s “elite eight” high schools.

“Our plan didn’t work,” de Blasio said at City Hall Wednesday. “It was a good plan, but it didn’t get passed.

“So we’re going to start over.”

But city Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza — who has steadfastly backed the mayor’s anti-test proposal to increase the number of black and Hispanic students being admitted to the city’s eight most-selective public high schools — does not appear to agree with de Blasio’s decision to throw in the towel.

“I’m not backing away from my belief that a single test is not the most enlightened way to identify students” for admission, he told a group of community and ethnic newspaper reporters last Friday.

“I’m open to good ideas,” he said. “What’s a better idea? Haven’t heard it yet.”

Carranza’s comments, coming two days after de Blasio said he was going to “start over,” are the first indication of daylight between the mayor and the schools chancellor on a issue that has divided them from a large segment of public-school parents.

The threat of eliminating the test and imposing more racial balance on elite high school enrollment sparked an especially emotional backlash in the Asian community.

The prospect of more black and Hispanic students being admitted to high schools such as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science would mean fewer Asians, parents say.

At Stuyvesant, the current enrollment is more than 70 percent Asian American.

The parents see the proposal to eliminate the SHSAT as an attempt by city officials to discriminate specifically against Asians based solely on their academic success.

State Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside), who, as chairman of the New York City Education Committee, would be a key figure in any attempt to reform admissions law, said he was “encouraged” that the mayor had given up.

“Nobody says [the elite high schools] must be a majority Asian thing,” Liu said.

“There are lots of new ideas,” he said. “The city, including the mayor and the chancellor, doesn’t want to hear them.

“It’s easier for them to treat the exam as the problem.”

“I’m still concerned,” said Wai Wah Chin, president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, one of the groups that sued the city last December for discrimination over its plan to revise the admissions system to increase minority enrollment.

“The mayor may have thrown in the towel on this plan,” she said. “But we don’t know what he’ll come up with next.”

“We don’t know why he is making this change,” said Swann Lee, a spokeswoman for the Asian American Coalition for Education, another party to the suit.

“They have ruined any trust,” she said of de Blasio and Carranza. “And this does not change people’s impression of them.”

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1 comment:

  • BroadwayLION posted at 5:45 pm on Thu, Oct 3, 2019.

    BroadwayLION Posts: 5

    The demographics of New York City have shifted so dramatically, that the only minority left is white people. I live in North Dakota, and so I come to the city only once each year, and while it might not be obvious to you it is surely obvious to me. There needs to be no padding of the scores or quotas of any sort. People with the grades get in. And there is no reason why a kid cannot get good grades, especially at the middle school level.