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.

Elite High-School Debate Simmers as Albany Session Winds Down

They got some relief Wednesday when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat who attended Brooklyn Technical High School, told reporters he isn’t considering a deal to pass that bill in return for other changes, such as boosting gifted programs.

“I think we should be looking to enrich our junior high-school students as we try to put them on the path to whether it’s a specialized high school or not,” Mr. Heastie said after meeting with New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: Latrice Walker

Name: Latrice Walker
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Latrice_Walker
Assembly: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Latrice-Walker
Phone: 718-342-1256

Assemblymember Latrice Walker advocates for keeping the SHSAT exam as the sole admission’s criteria in New York City specialized high schools.

Even as Assemblymember Walker’s district compromises many students who have shown their academic merit but will never have a chance to attend a public specialized high school, her position is not unexpected. Assemblymember Walker is an alumnus of a specialized high school. And alumni mostly support continuing the misguided tradition of using a single bubble test as the sole measure of students’ academic ability.…


This is one of the original New York Times articles reporting on the passage of the Hecht-Calandra law.

New York City Democrats split into emotionally charged camps to day as the Assembly passed a bill designed to limit the Board of Education’s power to alter the city’s four specialized high schools.

The measure passed, 107 to 35, and was sent to the Senate after minority‐group members led the opposition and accused white colleagues of seeking an exclusionary racial quota at the schools.

High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: William Colton

Name: William Colton
Assembly Link: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/William-Colton/
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/William_Colton
Phone: 718-236-1598

Assembly-member William Colton is a proponent of keeping the SHSAT exam as the SOLE measure of merit for access to Specialized High Schools.


Assembly-member Colton conveniently leaves out the fact that NYC’s gifted & talented programs actually increase segregation. Parents from across the city opportunity hoard these competitive seats and we have a replay of the SHSAT issue but with 5 year-olds.

To diversify schools, reimagine Gifted & Talented: A bill to expand segregated programs moves in exactly the wrong direction

Besides the Gifted and Talented admissions process issues.…

High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: Yuh-Line Niou

Name: Yuh-Line Niou
Assembly Link: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Yuh-Line-Niou
Phone: 212-312-1420

Assembly-member Yuh-Line Niou is a proponent of keeping the SHSAT exam as the SOLE measure of merit for access to Specialized High Schools.

Although her website claims to be against standardized testing, this is false. Speaker Heastie reported that assembly-member Niou was one of the key assembly-members to lobby against allowing the 2018 SHSAT bill on the floor for a vote.

In blocking this vote, assembly-member Niou blocked a proposal that would fix a historic under-representation of girls in our top STEM high schools.…

My journey shows why specialized high school admissions must change

With a sense of tragic déjà vu, reactionary forces are once again pushing back against any proposed integration of prestigious, but largely segregated, schools. This development is so predictable that it would be comical – were it not for the terrible consequences. Already, several irate New Yorkers have called my district office to voice their displeasure with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to diversify New York City’s elite specialized high schools. Many of these phone calls possess the same overt racial animus of years past, with arguments that had served the same purpose then: to maintain the broken status quo.