Several politicians wrote to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza Monday as they hope any change in the screening process for students driven by the coronavirus is temporary only for the 2021-22 school year.
“It has become clear to our offices, based on anecdotal data, conversations with concerned residents of the neighborhoods we have the privilege of representing and a recent Community Education Council 28 survey, that most of our constituents are in favor of keeping some sort of screening metric,” the letter read.
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), state Sen. John Liu (D-Flushing), Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) and acting Borough President Sharon Lee signed the letter.
A Department of Education spokesperson said no admissions decisions have been made and that updates will be shared ahead of next year’s admissions cycle.
“We thank these elected officials for their partnership and agree on the critical need for thoughtful conversations and feedback from parents and families across the City, which is why we’ve held town halls in every borough and heard ideas from thousands of New Yorkers, including a Queens-based town hall, local stakeholder meetings, and forums held by the Queens Borough President,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The agency said it held one-on-one meetings with many local stakeholders including Queens Parents United, as well as D28 Equity Now to hear feedback on admissions.
The agency added that the politicians’ letter “does not provide transparency into the representative sample of those surveyed, if they offered the survey in multiple languages, or how exactly their responses were calculated. We have no insight into any measures taken to ensure the integrity of these results.”
Some of the politicians who signed the letter have voiced criticism of the DOE’s diversity plan for middle schools in District 28, encompassing Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Jamaica.
In May, the New York Post reported that Carranza said to “Never waste a good crisis” in a push to make changes to the education system.
There are 195 middle schools and 125 high schools that use screened admissions to give students seats.