NEW YORK — Seeking to silence parental outrage, the Adams administration announced changes to the city’s controversial high school admissions policies by putting more emphasis on good grades.
Some parents said the changes don’t go far enough, and some said they’ll move if their child doesn’t get into a good school, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
Protests of the Bill de Blasio-era education policies that sought to end the Gifted and Talented program and merit-based admissions standards are nothing news.
Now, Schools Chancellor David Banks is seeking to undo de Blasio’s fuzzy math with new schools for the gifted and high school admissions based on good grades.
“It’s a new day,” said Banks. “If a young person is working their tail off every single day and they get a 99 average and they’re seeking to go into one of these screened schools, that ought to be honored.”
Banks addressed parental outrage over the fact that many top students had trouble getting into the city’s coveted, so-called “screened,” high schools that are believed to be more academically rigorous. About 126 of the city’s 444 high schools fall into that category.
Under the new policy, the top 15 percent of students in each middle school and the top 15 percent citywide will be given first-tier access to the screened schools. They will have to have at least a 90 grade point average.
Seats not filled by those students will be opened to the next tier, and so on.
Mona Davids of the New York City Parents Union said, while it’s a good start, the chancellor needs to add an objective measure like standardized tests.
“A middle school in the South Bronx, a student that’s in the top 15 percent of that school may not be on the same level, academic level, as a student from a District 2 school,” said Davids.
District 2 is in Manhattan. Parents there have the same concern that it’s not good enough to just measure grades. But they’re happy the chancellor is moving to undo the de Blasio-era lotteries.
“I think parents have no appetite to play DOE Powerball another year,” said Kaushik Das from the District 2 Community Education Council.
“I think we’ve come a long way from last year, and I think he acknowledges, as do we, that merit matters,” said Robin Paul Kelleher, also from the District 2 Community Education Council.
But if her son doesn’t get into a screened school, “we will explore other options such as moving,” Kelleher said.
Some parents told Kramer they would consider sending their kids to private or parochial schools.
Plans to open three new accelerated learning academies for gifted students in underserved communities are also on the drawing board. They will open in Fall 2024 in the South Bronx, Ocean Hill Brownsville and southeast Queens.