New City Council Resolutions Push for Overhaul to School Admissions Process

Repeal of the 1971 Hecht-Calandra Act and transferring control of admissions to New York City’s specialized high schools to the City. The Hecht-Calandra Act made the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test the single metric that can be used to admit students to specialized high schools. By giving control of specialized high school admissions back to New York City, there are opportunities to move beyond the test as a determining factor, which has resulted in a lack of diversity at these schools.

Video: NYC School Segregation: Rethinking the SHSAT

65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, segregation in public schools remains a major issue in cities across the country. New York City has one of the most segregated school systems in the country, and some see the controversial Specialized High Schools Admissions Test as part of the problem. At a City Council Oversight Hearing on Segregation in the New York City School System, Students, Parents, Council members, and Department of Education talk education reform.

https://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2019/05/separate-but-still-not-equal/

NYC Bar: Eliminate Competitive Admissions to NYC Public Elementary & Middle Schools

Equal access to educational opportunity and racially and economically integrated public schools are central goals of the SDAG and the larger civil-rights community. These goals cannot be achieved unless the New York City Department of Education eliminates competitive admissions to its elementary- and middle-school programs and schools.


In the elementary-school context, New York City provides separate Gifted & Talented (“G&T”) schools and in-school programs for young children who score above a certain level on what is known as the “G&T test.”

Testimony regarding segregation in New York City public schools

UFT opposes single measure admissions
The union is on record criticizing and challenging the validity of a single test as the sole criteria for high stakes decisions – such as entrance to early elementary gifted and talented programs or specialized high schools. The proponents of these standardized tests for entrance to competitive screened schools allege the tests are a reliable, objective measure that reinforce the schools’ success and set the standard for academic achievement; ultimately, it’s not broke, so no need to fix it.

Entrenched positions and pleas for change: NYC council debates school integration

City council members on Wednesday grilled education department officials on school segregation at a joint hearing of the Education Committee and Civil and Human Rights Committee.


The sharp questions and answer session took place just weeks before the 65th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.


The atmosphere was a stark departure from just five years ago, when council members questioned education department officials about diversity issues in a school system that remains among the most segregated in the country.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson: The time to act is now on specialized high schools

I support the success of all communities, which is why I believe the single test admissions process used to gain admittance to our eight test-based specialized schools must be abolished.

This is not a decision I make lightly, but I believe when tackling tough issues, we must make decisions based on fact, not on emotion or politics.

The single test admissions process we currently operate under was flawed from the beginning. It was mandated in 1971 under the Hecht-Calandra Act as a direct response to integration efforts to increase the number of black and brown students in specialized high schools.

High-Stakes Standardized Testing Supporter: Jumaane D. Williams

Name: Jumaane D. Williams
Public Advocate Link: https://advocate.nyc.gov/
Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Jumaane_Williams
Phone Hotline: (212) 669-7250

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams strongly supports the SHSAT as the sole measure of academic merit.  He argues that the only reason he got into a specialized high school was that he was good at taking tests, and not particularly good in class.

Jumaane Williams has also been heavily lobbied on his SHSAT position by some of the city’s most powerful lobbyists. 

Media:

Jumaane accepts campaign contributions from Pro-SHSAT lobbyists for multiple years.…