BP Diaz Calls For Changes To Specialized High School Admissions

Published on March 16, 2018, 5:25 pm
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Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is calling on the Panel for Educational Policy – the body which oversees New York City’s public school system – to use its power to change the admissions policies to five of the city’s specialized high schools to make the process more fair.

In his letter, Borough President Diaz notes that the city has the ability to adjust the admissions process at five specialized high schools – Brooklyn Latin, the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College; the High School of American Studies at Lehman College; Queens High School for the Sciences at York College and Staten Island Technical High School. These five schools currently rely solely on the results of the Specialized High School Admissions Test to admit their student body.

The full letter can be read here.

“A single test should no longer decide which students have access to our best high schools,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “The Specialized High School Admission Test should not be the only metric in deciding who attends our specialized high schools. The Panel for Educational Policy has the ability to move on changes to the admissions policies at five high schools without state legislative action, and should move swiftly and judiciously to do just that.”

The most recent results of the Specialized High School Admission Test found that Black and Latino students have actually lost ground in recent years when it comes to specialized high school admissions. Just ten percent of all seats at the eight specialized high schools were offered to Black or Latino students, and the percentage of Black and Latino students accepted to the city’s specialized high schools actually decreased this year.

Among the suggested changes Borough President Diaz has proposed the Panel for Educational Policy consider enacting for admissions to these five schools are the consideration of student portfolios in math and science as well as grade point averages, among others. The borough president has also proposed new, borough-specific specialized high schools that would offer an automatic seat for the top five percent of students in each middle school in The Bronx and Brooklyn.

Borough President Diaz has made increased access for underserved communities to the specialized high schools and gifted education a top priority throughout his administration. In May 2012, Borough President Diaz issued “An Action Plan for Fixing the Specialized High School Admissions Process.” That report is available here.

In June 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released a new report, titled “Fixing the Pipeline: Solutions to Disparities in Gifted Education in New York City,” outlining multiple recommendations for the future of gifted and talented education at all levels in New York City’s public schools. That report is available here.


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