NYC City Officials to Change Admission Systems in Middle and High Schools

NYC City officials announced last Dec. 18 that they will be changing the admission systems in accepting students in numerous middle schools and high schools. The planned step is considered as one of the most significant that will be taken by the city government in years, as a way to tackle racial segregation in NYC schools.

NY City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that for a year, the city will be temporarily stopping screenings that are based on academic merits in some middle schools. One of the reasons for this huge step is the result of the disorganizing effect brought by the pandemic on tests, gradings, and students’ attendance data.

The city’s school system houses more than 1.1 million students where 15% are white, 16% Asian, 26% Black, 41% are Hispanic. Even with the changes throughout the past years in the way schools have been admitting students, most schools, particularly those with high demand are ordinarily filled with wealthy white students.

New System will Use Lottery Approach in Fostering Diversity

According to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, in cases where the number of applicants are greater than the available slots in schools, applicants will be chosen by way of lottery. He called the change as a “common-sense approach” in addressing two particular issues:

1) The fixed patterns of racial concentration, which removes diversity in the population and the problems caused by the ongoing pandemic.

2) Remove priorities based on their geographic locations for high school admissions, specifically those coming from prioritized neighborhood residencies.

In the meantime, schools will continue to screen students based on their academic merits for now, as the school still have to address the city government’s requests to reconsider their respective set of criteria.

The change in admission systems will not affect elite high schools as they can continue to accept students based on entrance tests, or in the case of art schools, based on the results of auditions or portfolios.