High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: Robert Cornegy

Name: Robert Cornegy
Council Link: https://council.nyc.gov/robert-cornegy/
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Robert_Cornegy
Phone: 718-919-0740

Robert Cornegy is an NYC City Council member and a candidate for Brooklyn Borough President. He represents city council district 36.

Mr. Cornegy is also a firm supporter of the SHSAT specialized test as the sole measure of student ability. Even as just about every expert explains that he can’t rely on a single 90 question multiple-choice test as the sole measure of a child’s academic ability.…

NYC mayoral candidates divided on politically fractious elite high school test

“We cannot have admissions practices that have nothing to do with the learning abilities or needs of our kids, that are frankly just testing how much income parents have and for low-income parents who are scraping it together instead of doing other things with their limited dollars,”

Maya Wiley

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2021/01/28/nyc-mayoral-candidates-divided-on-politically-fractious-elite-high-school-test-1361070

Students Will Take SHSAT in Person Next Week, Adding to Strain on Middle School Principals

Covid pandemic or not, NYC holds the SHSAT exam.

“It seems incredibly unfair to put families in the position where they, again, any family who chose remote learning, now has to choose whether it is worth jeopardizing the safety and health and well-being of people in their household to send their student, their children, in to take this test,”

https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2021/01/22/students-will-take-shsat-in-person-next-week–adding-to-strain-on-middle-school-principals

Reopen Schools, and Reform Them

Instead of allowing the pandemic to worsen longstanding inequities, New York could seize on the disruption to fix its broken high school admissions practices at all its schools. Several promising proposals have emerged in recent years. Instead of a single exam, Albany could allow the city to use state test scores, class rank and other measures. These important reforms would require the State Legislature to overturn Hecht-Calandra, the 1971 law that explicitly requires three of the specialized high schools — Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School — to use an exam as the only point of entry.

Nobody’s Special PLACE

But if schools are “good” and “bad” based on who enrolls, then what function does a school itself serve?

The SHSAT conversation has crystalized into who is worthy of the “best” education, and who is not. A dyslexic student who excels on projects but not tests; a student juggling multiple caregiving demands; a high-performing student who spends hours at soccer or debate practice — any student who is not laser-focused on preparing for this one test and does not exceed the ever-rising cut-off score — all, under this PLACE paradigm, fall among the undeserving.

NYC, suspend high-stakes admission tests

Yet for years, neither the mayor nor the Legislature — nor anyone in Hunter College leadership — has taken the necessary action to overhaul a system that bases admissions to the most coveted schools on just a test, the SHSAT or the Hunter test. There’s not a single elite college in America that bases its admissions only on SAT or ACT scores, yet New York City’s best high schools make a single, homegrown exam make or break for thousands of students, despite results that worsen segregation.

Will the coronavirus mean the end of the SHSAT? I hope so

I believe the exam should have been eliminated years ago, but this difficult moment in history would be the perfect opportunity to see how a more inclusive set of admissions criteria could work for these specialized high schools without administering the test. The city’s education department should see this as a chance to explore the effectiveness of the other solutions that have been suggested as alternatives to using the SHSAT. While it is not up to the city alone, the city should put pressure on members of the New York State Legislature — who are the only ones that can repeal the relevant law — and push for a waiver to not have to administer the exam this year at least.

The legal battle over high school entrance exams

The points made in this article cannot be overstated. The Hecht-Calandra Act may be an unknown, obscure law to many Americans, including New Yorkers. But this law may be the small crack in the armor that allows conservative legal groups to defeat all race-conscious equity schemes.

McAuliffe PTO is just the latest federal case involving Asian American plaintiffs (though funded and orchestrated by conservative legal strategists Edward Blum and the Pacific Legal Foundation) alleging that racial diversity efforts in admissions discriminate against them, and we can expect more such cases to be filed in the future.