New bill seeks to repeal state law governing admissions to NYC’s specialized high schools

“We’re not calling for any policies, we’re just saying the state should stay out of it,” said Assembly Member Charles Barron, a co-sponsor of the legislation introduced Wednesday.

The previous bill never made it to the Senate, where Sen. John Liu was seen as an obstacle to getting legislation through the New York City education committee, which he chairs.

https://ny.chalkbeat.org/2020/7/9/21319383/new-bill-repeal-admissions-nyc-specialized-high-schools

Lawmakers, advocates launch new effort to repeal state specialized high school law amid racial justice protests

The new effort, spearheaded by the advocacy group Teens Take Charge, comes on the heels of sweeping protests against racial injustice that advocates hope will shine new light on segregation in city schools.

“The recent protests really did show all of us racism is a really big issue and that we need to do better in improving integration in this city,” said William Diep, a 16-year-old Teens Take Charge member, and senior at Brooklyn Latin, one of the city’s specialized schools.

A10731: We have a new bill!

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.

Lawyers Argue the Discovery Program on Injunction Appeal

In an attempt to appeal an earlier district court preliminary injunction decision plaintiff lawyers argue that the Discovery Program is somehow racist.

It should be noted that…

  • …that the Discovery program was started in the 1960s and predates the SHSAT exam and Hecht-Calandra itself.
  • also, the Discovery program was reserved roughly 15% of offers in 1971.
  • and that it was the express legislative intent of Hecht-Calandra to give the mayor unlimited control over the level of offers in the discovery program.

A Single Score No More: Rethinking the Admissions System for New York City’s Specialized High Schools to Preserve Academic Excellence and Promote Student Diversity

This paper gets a few of its core premises wrong. The SHSAT exam does NOT strongly predict academic performance nor ability. Papers put its validity at 20%. Which basically means it’s only predicting 20% of what makes a student successful. GPA comes in at about 40% as a comparison.

Unlike Mayor de Blasio’s plan, this Note’s proposal would preserve the SHSAT, for evidence shows that it accurately and strongly predicts academic success in high school. However, unlike the present system which relies solely on the exam for admission, my proposal would evaluate students based on four factors measuring academic performance: (1) SHSAT score; (2) GPA; (3) rank in eighth grade graduating class; and (4) rank among eighth graders citywide.

Seven NYC Students Didn’t Get Seats in Elite Schools, So They Asked State for Help

Another attack on NYC’s specialized high school diversity efforts. This is representing attorney Claude M. Millman’s ( Bronx Science ’81 Alumni ) second legal action against the SHSAT reform that I know of.

Previously he represented a coalition of anti-reform protesters in another SHSAT related matter in 2014.

Referring to 2014 Legal Action

I believe but haven’t confirmed that this filing was done through the state education department’s appeals process: Appeals or Petitions to Commissioner of Education. Maybe SHSAT reform supporters should have been filing petitions all along?…

McAuliffe vs. NYC Pretrial Conference Transcript

March 7th, 2019

With all the discussion of “disparate impact” I don’t understand why Sandoval Decision doesn’t apply.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_v._Sandoval

McCauliffe 2018 Case: MOTION for Preliminary Injunction

The judge’s motion denying a preliminary injunction which attempted to block scheduled changes to the Discovery program.

You can find most case documents here https://shsatsunset.org/christa-mcauliffe-intermediate-school-pto-inc-et-al-v-de-blasio-et-al/

The 40-page document also contains lots of findings of fact that should be a useful legal overview.

Here are some notes…

As a preliminary matter, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to show that the balance of hardships tips decidedly in their favor. The PTO, which represents parents at a school no longer eligible for participation in the Discovery program because it has an ENI of less than 60%, arguably suffers the most hardship from the new changes.