This week, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative, libertarian-leaning law firm that has a history of challenging affirmative action policies, filed the first lawsuit against his admissions reform proposal, which he announced this summer.
But the suit does not take on the part of Mr. de Blasio’s proposal that has provoked the most controversy: a plan that would entirely eliminate the exam that is currently the sole means of admission into the city’s elite specialized high schools. The mayor wants to replace the test with a system that guarantees seats to top performers at each of the city’s middle schools, which would guarantee that the schools accept many more black and Hispanic students.
Vito LaBella, president of the Christa McAuliffe Parent Teacher Organization, said that if parents decide to forge ahead, the federal suit would challenge this set-aside plan. “It’s discriminatory,” he said. “I do believe our children would no longer be allowed to partake in Discovery.”
Currently the small Discovery program is available to disadvantaged applicants citywide. The mayor says he can make this change because the 1971 law on admissions at these high schools allows for a Discovery program of some sort.
Below is an open letter to Chancellor Richard A. Carranza from the Stuyvesant High School Black Alumni Diversity Initiative (SHSBADI). SHSBADI was formed in 2010 to address the declining enrollment of Black and Latinx students at Stuyvesant and the city’s other specialized high schools.
The letter below outlines SHSBADI’s recommendations for ways to increase the number of Black and Latinx students at Specialized High Schools along with their thoughts on the pending State Legislation (S7983, A10427 and S8503) to address this issue.
By 2020, 20 percent of the ninth-grade seats in every specialized high school will be set aside for Discovery students, according to city education officials. Currently, only 5 percent of the 4,000 ninth-grade seats are filled through Discovery.
Fox news interviews students and other stakeholders about the SHSAT
“It’s not the right way to evaluate a student’s merit,” said Muhammad Deen, no other college uses one single test.
Deen says he came just below the cutoff to get into Brooklyn tech and instead ended up attending a charter school. He and Morales support the Mayor’s proposal to eliminate the SHSAT and instead admit students to the elite schools based on GPA and state test scores.
“It is more of a way of looking at the student as a whole, rather than this one simple test score that didn’t really showcase what a good student is,” Deen said.