Students, families and alumni of the city’s specialized high schools just got new allies in their fight to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio from destroying those elite schools.
On Monday, the Education Equity Campaign launched with a simple mission: Keep the race-blind entrance exam, address root causes of the admission gap and open more top schools to meet demand.
“We can preserve high standards, invest in our children and prepare a new generation of leaders who reflect the full diversity of our city,” argues civil rights activist and Brooklyn Tech alum Kirsten John Foy, who’ll head the campaign.
Goals include doubling “elite” enrollment with new selective high schools in every borough, plus guaranteeing free SHSAT prep and boosting local Gifted and Talented programs — all solid ideas. And they won’t be ignored, not with billionaire Ron Lauder (Bronx Science, 1961) and former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons fund-raising for the fight.
Meanwhile, parents of seven middle school students shut out of the Discovery program’s alternate route to elite-high-school admission are petitioning the state Education Department to invalidate the city’s “reforms” of Discovery.
The changes, they charge, violate the law’s intent by excluding middle-class students who just missed the cutoff test scores. De Blasio’s rules, attorney Claude Millman explains, are “so arbitrarily drawn” that even black and Hispanic kids “are adversely affected.”
The petition includes statements from three former principals of Stuyvesant and Bronx Science warning (as have we) that the revamped Discovery admits many students whose test scores are too low for them to keep up at the top schools.
This battle has only begun.
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