A high deputy of faculties Chancellor Richard Carranza surprised dad and mom final week when she mentioned selections on admission standards for the town’s high center and excessive colleges are “political.”
“Something that’s as excessive stakes and necessary as — and political, to be sincere — as admissions coverage goes to should be one thing that’s cleared by the town,” mentioned Adrienne Austin, deputy chancellor for neighborhood empowerment, partnerships and communications.
Austin made the startling remark after Manhattan dad Leonard Silverman requested about still-unknown Department of Education plans to offer the SHSAT — the entry examination for eight specialised excessive colleges — plus Gifted & Gifted testing, and admission guidelines for teenagers making use of to center and excessive colleges.
“I do know dad and mom wish to learn about admissions. I do know dad and mom wish to learn about grading coverage. I wish to learn about grading coverage and admissions,” Austin mentioned. “I don’t have that data but.”
Austin spoke Thursday at a Zoom assembly of the Chancellor’s Mother or father Advisory Committee, a citywide panel of 38 mother or father representatives.
Silverman, of Manhattan’s District 2, was shocked by Austin’s honesty.
“Did she truly say what I feel she mentioned?” he puzzled after her remark.
“I feel it reveals there’s extra happening behind the scenes than meets the attention. It’s not simply academic points,” Silverman mentioned.
He added, “I don’t suppose points like these ought to be political. Mother and father are caught within the crossfire. Mother and father wish to know what’s going to occur subsequent yr, and if politics are delaying the method, it’s disconcerting.”
Yiatin Chu, co-president of PLACE NYC, a mother or father group that helps aggressive admissions, referred to as Austin’s feedback “despicable.”
“For a high DOE chief to say that these selections are political tells you that our educators have turn into politicians,” she mentioned. “And so they’re seizing on our well being and training disaster to additional their political agenda.”
Mayor de Blasio and Carranza have tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the SHSAT, the only entry standards, required by state legislation, for Stuyvesant, Bronx HS of Science, and Brooklyn Tech. 5 different excessive colleges use the examination, which Carranza called “racist.”
Carranza additionally opposes the widespread follow of “screening” college students for admission at tons of of center and excessive colleges based mostly on grades, state check scores, attendance and different measures, saying it ends in racial segregation.
Regardless of calls for by advocacy teams akin to Teenagers Take Cost, Carranza has not but made modifications, however has instructed the pandemic can lead to dropping such criteria.
“By no means waste a great disaster to remodel a system,” he told principals in May. “We see this as a chance to lastly push and transfer and be very strategic in a really aggressive approach what we all know is the fairness agenda for our youngsters.”
Manhattan Metropolis Councilman Keith Powers, who has launched a decision asking the state to repeal Hecht-Calendra, the legislation requiring the SHSAT, interprets Austin’s use of the phrase “political” as a reference to the controversy swirling round admission points,
“Historical past has proven that these discussions have plenty of stake holders who really feel very strongly,” Powers mentioned. “However dad and mom should know what these insurance policies are going to be to allow them to begin the method of making use of to colleges and planning for the place their kids will go.”
The councilman added, “Finally, that is going to wind up on the mayor’s discretion.”
Austin declined to elucidate her comment.
“Admissions processes deeply influence every scholar’s training, and we’re at all times on the facet of fairness and rising entry and alternative,” DOE spokeswoman Katie O’Hanlon mentioned.
“Our selections are pushed by the perfect curiosity of our college students, which is why we’ve got publicly opposed SHSAT and haven’t added screened colleges. We now have engaged households citywide on admissions, and can share updates quickly.”