High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: John Liu

Name: John Liu
Senate Link: https://www.nysenate.gov/senators/john-c-liu
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/John_Liu
Phone: 718-765-6675

Senator John Liu is a supporter of keeping the SHSAT exam as the SOLE measure of merit for admissions to Specialized High Schools.

Senator Liu leads the Democrat Senate NYC Education committee. Which means he gets to decide what NYC education bills are brought to the Senate floor.

So we can pretty much confirm at this point that the mayor’s SHSAT proposal is dead as long as Senator Liu leads this committee.

Here’s Senator Liu arguing for keeping the SHSAT.

There are many inaccurate statements in this conversation. But the strangest part of all of this is that Senator Liu was at one point very pro-SHSAT reform.

We can even use the old John Liu to refute the new one…

Wow, what a difference 5 years makes!

Finally, here’s Senator Liu’s statement of support of the NAACP’s federal complaint.


As a past Liu supporter, his 180-degree turn on high-stakes testing is very disappointing. Maybe because it’s clear Senator Liu understands using a single 3 hour multiple-choice test is wrong, as he says in his previous interview.

Here are a few quotes from Senator Liu’s Huffington Post article which go directly against his current position.

The Specialized High schools are the equivalent of New York City’s Ivy League. Admittance to these schools is a ticket to success. They bring an almost certain guarantee of high school graduation, in a city where the graduation rate is 65 percent, and an almost certain guarantee of college acceptance. More than a quarter of the graduates of Stuyvesant and Bronx Science go on to university in the real Ivy Leagues, at Harvard, and Yale, and Brown, or other top tier colleges.

John Liu, May 30th 2012

Many educational experts have long decried this admissions method and some good ideas have been proposed to change it.

Assemblyman Karim Camara, from the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn, and State Senator Adriano Espaillat, of the 31st Senate District representing parts of the Upper West Side and the Bronx, are sponsoring legislation on the state level to change the admissions criteria for the Specialized High Schools to include grade point averages and other factors, such as interviews, personal statements, and portfolios, as well as an entrance exam. Their model is, in fact, similar to the same broad admissions process used by most colleges and universities in the U.S.

John Liu, May 30th 2012


2019-04-03: Senator John Liu of Queens now calls the Mayor’s race-neutral SHSAT reform plan “racist”: