This new bill calls for the repeal of the Hecht-Calandra Act.
At present, there are nine specialized high schools in New York City, one of which – Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts – focuses on the arts. The other eight schools are The Bronx High School of Science, The Brooklyn Latin School, Brooklyn Technical High School, High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at the City College of New York, High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, Staten Island Technical High School, and Stuyvesant High School.
Section 2590-h of the Education Law requires that admission to the specialized high schools, other than LaGuardia High School, be based on the results of a competitive, objective and scholastic achievement test. This test is known as the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT).
Section one of the bill sets out legislative findings of stark racial disparities in the New York City specialized high schools, which since the enactment of Hecht-Calandra Act of 1971 mandated admission be based solely on a single score obtained on a standardized test known as the specialized high school admission test (SHSAT), a test which is in use in no other school district in the country.
Section two of this bill would amend section 2590-h of the Education Law to provide an amended recitation of the specialized high schools, and the City of New York’s authority to create additional such highs schools at the discretion of the Chancellor, leaving the establishment of admissions criteria to the local school district.
Section three would make the same amendment as the amendment made by section one of this bill, as described above. Section two would take effect when section 2590-h of the Education Law, as amended by chapter 345 of the laws of 2009, expires and reverts to section 2590-h of the Education Law, as amended by chapter 720 of the laws of 2006.
Section four would provide that this bill takes effect on January 1, 2022.