High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: Aravella Simotas

Name: Aravella Simotas
Assembly Link: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Aravella-Simotas
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Aravella_Simotas
Phone: 718-545-3889

Aravella Simotas Assembly District 36 New York City

Although frequently virtue-signaling in public, Assemblymember Simotas has been a firm supporter of keeping the SHSAT high-stakes exam as the sole admissions criteria in NYC public specialized high schools.


From: “Aravella Simotas” <[email protected]>
Date: June 27, 2019 at 12:19:40 PM EDT
To: [Redacted]
Subject: RE: Please OPPOSE A2173 on NYC Specialized High School Admissions

Dear [Redacted]:
Thank you for your letter concerning the Specialized High School Admissions Test. I am always glad to receive feedback from my constituents.

As the mother of a young child and a product of the public school system, I share your commitment to supporting our public schools. While it is important to work towards increasing diversity in New York City’s specialized high schools, I agree that eliminating the entrance exam is not the right way to achieve this goal.

Having one standardized admissions test for our specialized high schools ensures that all students are judged based on the same objective measure and considered solely on merit. Introducing subjective criteria into the admissions process could have unintended consequences and lead to a less rigorous curriculum in these schools, which would ultimately do a disservice to high-achieving students of all backgrounds. Furthermore, this proposal would deprive students in private and parochial schools of the opportunity to compete for admission on an equal playing field to their peers in public schools. To address racial and economic disparities in high school admissions without compromising high academic standards, we should work to expand access to quality educational opportunities and test preparation services for students in disadvantaged communities. In the Assembly, I will continue to fight to ensure every student has the chance to thrive and reach their full potential.

I appreciate you taking the time to write to me. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

Aravella Simotas
New York State Assemblymember
36th District – Queens

In the above letter, Assemblymember Simotas goes through the greatest hits of incorrect assumptions regarding the SHSAT exam.

The SHSAT is objective only if you do not consider that it tests above grade material. Parents pay thousands of dollars a year to get their children tutoring above what’s taught at school. This ensures that the SHSAT is biased toward wealth or at least the willingness to invest thousands into it.

Assemblymember Simotas continues to claim that ANY admissions criteria outside this single high-stakes exam would be subjective. I guess every college, including every Ivory league has been doing it wrong.

Assemblymember Simotas suggests there are better ways of increasing diversity at our specialized high schools. Yet she never proposes or passes any bills toward this. Keep in mind that NYC already spends about $20M/year on this single exam!

Simotas’ is a common NY democrat strategy when supporting conservative agendas. Simply vaguely claiming that there’s a better way. Sadly, they’ve been using this redirect since the 1970s.