Changes to Stuyvesant and Other High School Admissions Would Have Big Local Impact; CEC3 Considering Position on Wednesday

The de Blasio administration wants to change the admissions process for the city’s specialized high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science in order to make those schools more diverse. Upper West Siders make up a disproportionately large percentage of the student body of those schools, and could be significantly impacted by any changes.

The mayor’s plan would offer admission to the top 7% of students at each middle school in the city, instead of relying on a test. That would ensure that the student body would become more diverse, proponents say. While 295 Upper West Side students were accepted to the schools last year, only about 95 would be accepted under the new plan, according to an analysis by opponents of the plan, using stats from the city and education website Chalkbeat. It would have a particularly large impact on Booker T. Washington middle school on 107th Street, which sent 150 kids to the specialized schools last year.


Stats put together by opponents about high school admissions.

At some schools in the district, more students would likely get accepted under the new plan, but it would be a net loss of seats.

Community Education Council 3, a parent body that advises the city on education issues on the Upper West Side and in West Harlem, plans to weigh in on Wednesday night about the changes. In District 2, which includes the Upper East Side and several other neighborhoods, some parents have spoken out angrily about the plan.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. at PS 199, 270 West 70th Street.

NEWS, SCHOOLS | 46 comments | permalink
    1. UWSJoe says:

      The private schools and moving companies gotta be loving deblasios plan.

      Don’t worry leftists. You’ll get your “diverse” schools.

      • parent says:

        If you dig deeper into the plan, you see that kids who go to private middle schools have an even bigger problem getting in. Only 10 percent of seats will be reserved for private school kids and eligibility for the random lottery will be based on a 93 grade average or higher. If you flock to the private system you are staying there!

      • KittyH says:

        Speaking as a Leftist and as one who favors increased educational opportunity for racial/ethnic/economic minorities, I can say I disapprove of the plan to change/lower standards of admission to the extant specialized schools. Wouldn’t it serve all sides to greater advantage if more students were accommodated by increasing the number of specialized schools?

    2. Sherman says:

      It should be noted that under this plan a significant number of students who will be admitted into the specialized high schools under this new plan will be those who don’t even test at their grade level for math and English.

      So students who truly do excel in school will be blocked from attending these specialized schools but students who are below where they should be will be welcomed in.

      And what will happen to these subpar students once they’re admitted into an intense and rigorous high school?

      Does anybody honestly believe they will flourish and excel?

      I guess we will start hearing excuses about how the curriculum at these specialized high schools are “biased”.

      It’s pathetic that screwballs and racists like Carranza, DeBlasio and Gale Brewer insist on destroying the specialized schools and punishing hard working students. They are going to chase middle class families to the suburbs.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        Sherman said:

        “It should be noted that under this plan a significant number of students who will be admitted into the specialized high schools under this new plan will be those who don’t even test at their grade level for math and English.”

        really? what is your source for this?

        how many middle schools have 93% below grade level for Math and English?

        Sherman said:

        “So students who truly do excel in school will be blocked from attending these specialized schools… ”

        this is an interesting comment. Because under the DeBlasio / Carranza plan, it is GRADES and school performance that counts. Under the current system, these things don’t count at all. All that counts is performance on a single test… which can be “prepped” for.

        So, in fact, it’s just the opposite of what you are saying.

        • Sherman says:

          Hi Bruce

          “How many middle school schools have 93% below grade level for math and English?”

          According to the presentation at MS54 Tuesday night quite a few.

          To be in the top 7% in these schools means little. A student can be in the top 7% of some schools and still be below expected grade level yet still get into a specialized school.

          Sherm

        • Bemorechillmom says:

          Incorrect, they will use state test as part of the composite score

        • Anon says:

          Bruce,
          The Wall Street Journal calculated that 300 kids who score below grade level in the state tests would be offered seats in specialized high schools under the 7% plan. You’ll need a login to read the entire article.
          https://www.wsj.com/articles/stuyvesant-other-elite-new-york-public-high-schools-could-admit-students-who-didnt-pass-state-tests-1539855001?mod=hp_lead_pos10

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            thanks Anon. I tried to look at it last night but was stymied. I will look at it sometime today.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            i wasn’t able to read the WSJ article on the WSJ site without subscribing, but most of it is reprinted here:

            http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/244161/Re_Stuyvesant_could_admit_stud.html

            So let’s break through all the exaggerations and fretting about the Mayor’s plan.

            According to the study, if the De Blasio / Carranza plan was implemented this year, 318 kids out of 4,959 would have scored below 3 on EITHER the Math or English portion of state exams. this is 6.4% of the total, not a huge amount. there were 2 this year who did not achieve these scores.

            the AVERAGE proficiency score for all those admitted would fall very slightly, from 4.1 to 3.9. Almost exactly the same.

            Let’s note that almost zero of these 318 kids would end up going to Stuy or Bronx Science. there are 8 schools, Stuy and Science get the best scorers.

            if this really troubles people so much, it’s pretty easy to fix. Just make a 3 on the proficiency exams a prerequisite for admissions. if the student doesn’t have that, go down to the next student.

            by the way, i suspect that many or most of these students have limited English proficiency.

      • UESider says:

        I wonder how many of these Upper West Siders actually voted for the unapologetic redistributionist equal outcome not equal opportunity Mayor De Blasio. The utter stupidity is ironic. The had to have know what Deblasio was and what he stood for and know are unhappy with the results they’re getting. .

    3. ScooterStan says:

      Re: “mayor’s plan would offer admission to the top 7% of students at each middle school in the city, instead of relying on a test.”

      Mayor BdB, or his spouse, or both, must really have loved NYC in the 70’s BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING THEIR BEST TO BRING BACK THE 70’s:
      1. Public urination no longer a ticket-able offence;
      2. ditto turnstyle-jumping;
      3. ditto pot-smoking;
      And now for the crowning achievement:📣
      DRIVING MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES WITH SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN TO THE SUBURBS!!!
      For THAT is what will happen when parents of high-achieving children can no longer hope that their child’s brains and study-habits MIGHT earn that child a seat at the tested-schools.

      Thank goodness BdB is term-limited.

    4. Maya says:

      The problem is not the test. What needs fixing are the pre-schools and elementary schools and better preparing students. The test is racially blind, don’t try to fix this by making it a racial issue. This can be fixed by looking at the Board of Ed and their standards of education of grades 1-7 before any test. By removing the test, you will bring down the standards for all students. These schools are special for a reason.

      • Juan says:

        Perfectly stated. They seem intent on starting at the top and working their way down rather than going the other way, which would make more sense. I generally don’t like the mayor but Universal pre-k was a great step in the right direction. More policies like that rather than forced mediocrity is the way to go.

        And for all those who are going to complain, I guarantee that most of us complaining about this are people who consistently vote for Democrats and love diversity, but just want it to be done correctly.

      • David Paul Olshefski says:

        First fix the pre-schools, elementary schools and middle schools to better educate students – instead of making such a radical change to HS admissions.

    5. UWSParent says:

      So in other words, if our kids are hoping to get into those schools, we now have to encourage them to go to less competitive middle schools so they have more of a chance to be in the top 7%.
      Isn’t the point of the specialized schools to allow advanced learners to be with peers who are similarly academically motivated?
      I think about my (now) high school student who went to a less academically oriented middle school and could possibly have gotten into a specialized high school inder this new rule, which is absolutely not where he belongs.
      And I think of my now elementary school aged child who really wants to go to Booker T, but to do so would put him at a disadvantage when it comes time for high school.
      It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t meant to be fair and equal, it’s meant to be an achievement to go to these schools.
      Am I wrong?

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        Hi UWSParent,

        Are you wrong? With all respect, yes, you are, on several key points.

        UWSParent said:

        “Isn’t the point of the specialized schools to allow advanced learners to be with peers who are similarly academically motivated?”

        You are making the false assumption that students from poorer areas who end up in the top 7% of their middle school cohort, based on grades, are not “academically motivated.” I would say someone who works hard over an extended period of time to get outstanding grades is more “academically motivated” than someone who spends time prepping for a single test. Most college admissions officers would agree with me.

        UWSParent said:

        “I think about my (now) high school student who went to a less academically oriented middle school and could possibly have gotten into a specialized high school under this new rule, which is absolutely not where he belongs.”

        A “less academically oriented middle school”? What were they doing, baby sitting?

        I think what you mean is a less SELECTIVE middle school.

        if your son got top 7% in that school — and it doesn’t sound like he was a straight-A student — then yes, under the new plan he gets the CHOICE to go to one of the 8 schools that are now “tested.”

        But he wouldn’t HAVE TO do that. It seems like he is in the right school for him, now. Would that school no longer be available to him? As a parent, wouldn’t you GUIDE him towards a good fit?

        Many commenters are making the mistake of seeing the 8 “tested” schools (and they really mean the “Big Three”: Stuy, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech) as the only good alternative in NYC public high schools. That is very, very far from the truth. There are many good schools out there that meet various needs. I can tell you about a few, based on experiences with my children and with children of my friends.

        UWSParent said:

        “And I think of my now elementary school aged child who really wants to go to Booker T, but to do so would put him at a disadvantage when it comes time for high school.”

        Same point. If Booker T is RIGHT for your child, then your child should go to the best fit, and get the best education. High school will work itself out if your child has a positive middle school experience.

        This argument reminds me of the crazed upper-class parent who HAVE TO get their child into the best pre-school… because that is the path to Harvard!

        UWSParent said:

        “It isn’t meant to be fair and equal, it’s meant to be an achievement to go to these schools.”

        Top 7% is a BIG achievement. And “fair and equal” is, indeed, an issue. We have big racial disparities in K-12 education, and we have to start dealing with them. It’s ridiculous to complain about over-egalitarianism when the number of Blacks in Stuy is just a little over 1%, and the number of Latinos 3%. Does this reflect a fair process? Do you really believe the number of Black and Hispanic “high achievers” is so very small?

        • ZoomZ says:

          Bruce old chap,
          Is there any subject that you are not an expert on?
          You amaze me with your deep knowledge of events and news, as you are always on top
          of it. Kudos.

          • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

            ZoomZ,

            thank you for the kind words. I’m appreciative that what i write reaches at least a few people who are interested.

            I have some advantages, in that I’m a Grad Student in Poli Sci at the CUNY Grad Center (the Grad Center is superb, despite what you might read in some of the ill-informed comments below). I’m a lifetime NYer, i work for the city in an area where I have to know some areas of policy, and i have been around politics and public policy most of my long working life.

            but mostly, i am appalled and stunned by both the ignorance and right wing prejudices, including pretty virulent racism, that i read almost every day in WSR comments. Do these commenters now represent “the conventional wisdom” on the UWS? I don’t think so, but still, the myths and prejudices they propagate are damaging, to the city and most of its people. So even if i don’t know about a topic, i feel compelled to research and not let prejudicial myths and half-truths stand without contradiction.

      • UWSPeter says:

        No, you’re right – sadly BdB is set on destroying what works instead of fixing what’s broken. This will punish hard working students across the city. And it will, in fact, increase segregation, not just by driving families to the burbs but also to private. Of course, private schools are only available for those who can afford, so guess who’s left hanging – hardworking, smart kids from families that can’t afford the burbs or private…

        Great move BdB. But of course nothing of this matters to you anymore as you have your sight set on DC now…

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          the testing schools are not “working”, because they are systematically and vastly under-representing Black and Hispanic kids.

    6. Leon says:

      What is the opposite of the expression “high tide raises all ships?” Because that is how best to describe this plan. Perhaps the “race to the bottom?”

    7. Sherela says:

      I could have sworn that the admissions test for the original 3 specialized high schools was state law. How does our genius mayor expect to make these proposed changes? I can’t see Cuomo supporting this.

    8. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      this is one of the few systems in the US that depends SOLELY on a single test as the admission criteria. CUNY, SUNY, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, U Cal: none use solely the SAT as their criteria, and many of these schools are downgrading its use. And none IGNORE GPA and actual school performance, as the “tested” NYC schools do.

      there are two facts that show that this testing method results in racial and economic disparities, and should be changed:

      1) the “test prep” classes work. Upper income parents and parents in communities where “test prep” is the norm can send their kids to these classes, and their scores radically improve. Any unbiased system would be mostly immune to this.

      2) THE vanishingly small number of Black and Hispanic kids gaining admission through the test is in itself proof that the testing regime promotes disparities. Do you seriously think the number of smart, hardworking Black and Hispanic kids in NYC public schools is so small? Do you seriously think there are not thousands of Black and Hispanic kids who also deserve a chance?

      this is a glaring example of a racial disparity, and it has to be addressed. Giving admission by letting in a certain top percentage of each school seems to me to be one valid way to do so. By the way, that’s the way it’s done at the University of Texas.

      Is Texas is more progressive on this issue than NYC? It seems like it is.

      • Sherman says:

        Hi Bruce

        “The vanishingly small number of Black and Hispanic kids gaining admission through through the test is in itself proof that the testing regime promotes disparities”

        Huh?

        Any semi-competent scientist will tell you that correlation does not mean cause and effect.

        Your “proof” of bias is 100% nonexistent.

        Sherm

      • UWSJoe says:

        “Do you seriously think the number of smart, hardworking Black and Hispanic kids in NYC public schools is so small?”

        Yes. And we know this. Let’s look at the evidence shall we?

        http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/2017-3-8-test-results.pdf

        On the 2017 ELA test only 28.9% of NYC black students and 29.7% of NYC hispanics passed with a ‘level 3’.

        This stands in stark contrast with NYC whites and asians who more than doubled the black and hispanic pass rate at 61% each.

        So, white and asian students rightfully SHOULD be over represented at “elite” schools, because THEY ARE SMARTER! And not by a little bit, but by HUGE margins.

        What’s worse is the ELA merely measures “proficiencies”. This isn’t even an “elite” test. Holy smokes!

        If you want something to complain about complain about the 70% of black and hispanic kids who can neither read nor write much less get into specialized schools.

        • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

          UWSJoe,

          With all due respect, you don’t know how to interpret statistics.

          My point was not that there are no educational disparities based on race, in general, in the NYC public school system. of course there are, and they have to be addressed.

          rather, my point was that there are THOUSANDS of Black and Hispanic students who deserve admission to the specialized schools, who are high achieving on the statewide tests, and who are not getting in.

          In 2018, of the 7th graders who took the ELA test, 27,838 received a 3 or a 4. this was out of 65,334 who took the test (42.6%).

          Of those 27,838 with 3 or 4, 12,718 were Black or Hispanic — 45.7% of the top scorers.

          Even among only the “4s” (9,803 city wide), 2,834 7th graders were black or Hispanic — almost 29% of the very top scorers.

          Yet how many are receiving offers of admission from Stuy, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech? a tiny number.

          Bronx Science: out of 912 offers, 90 Blacks and Hispanics –9.8%

          Brooklyn tech: 1,904 offers, 224 Blacks and Hispanics: 11.7%

          Stuyvesant: 902 offers, a shocking 37 Black and Hispanics (only 10 Blacks offered in the whole class!): 4.1%.

          Let’s look at it another way: let’s examine the ratio between offers to all 8 “testing” schools and the number of “4” scorers. this should be a good measure of how many high achievers from each group are going to the “testing” schools.

          Asians: 2,620 offers / 3,661 “4s” = 71.5%
          white: 1,344 offers / 3,001 = 44.7%
          Hispanics: 320 / 1,922 = 16.6%
          Blacks: 207 / 912 = 22.7%

          this clearly shows that there are thousands of high performing Black and Hispanic kids, but the current process is not getting them into these schools in the proportion that they deserve.

          UWSJoe said:

          “So, white and asian students rightfully SHOULD be over represented at “elite” schools, because THEY ARE SMARTER! And not by a little bit, but by HUGE margins.”

          Well, this clearly shows your purpose… to write a racist screed. i suppose that’s your right, but it’s distasteful and backward.

    9. hsuebpines says:

      ah yes, mutually mediocre. thanks bill. thanks for dumbing down our wonderful schools and making sure our kids will no longer be as welcome in the best colleges and universities.
      I guess we need all parents who want their kids a better education than what New YOrk offers can each have two jobs. ah yes, thanks Bill, you ignoramus. Try the White House next.

    10. Scott says:

      Is everybody at the G&T schools truly deserving to be there? I bet there’s a lot of system gaming going on. Does anyone believe that Russell Harding, disgraced son of political fixer Raymond Harding, deserved to get into Bronx Science?

      • Sherman says:

        Or that Dante DeBlasio deserved to be at Brooklyn Tech.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          Sherman, he’s now at Yale (or possibly already graduated).

          Dante De Blasio got into Brooklyn Tech long before his father was Mayor.

          Do you have any factual reason to disparage the young man, to throw doubt on his academic credentials? or is this just random racist BS on your part?

          your comment says mountains about where you’re coming from.

    11. Don says:

      City college was once one of the top colleges in the nation. They called it the Harvard of the proletariat. Then similar forces changed the rules of city college and it went downhill rapidly thereafter. Only recently is it now coming back though it will never be restored to its former glory. Our city officials are doing the same thing to Stuyvesant, Destroying one of the great high schools of the nation. I can see increasing diversity but the current proposals go way too far. Including the top 3% from each school would make more sense.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        in reply to DOn:

        are you saying CCNY “went downhill” because of increased ethnic and racial diversity?

        I would argue that, to the extent CUNY “went downhill”, it was because of attempts to starve it financially — particularly under Giuliani, who hated CUNY.

        As a CUNY graduate (Queens College) and current CUNY Grad Student (CUNY Grad Center), I can tell you CUNY continues to be excellent, especially the professors and students. the infrastructure (physical plant) is being starved of funds.

        CUNY is a gem of NYC.

        second point: the 3% vs. 7%. Guess what? Stuy will get the top 3%, or maybe the top 2%. The top 7% is for ALL 8 “tested” schools. Stuy will get the “cream” of that 7%.

        And with the top 2-3% from ALL middle schools, Stuy will suddenly be much more racially diverse.

        So I guess we both agree on the De Blasio / Carranza plan.

        • Ed says:

          The downfall of City College is well documented. It too had rigorous entrance exams. It too was attacked for being racist because well tests are racist against Blacks and Puerto Ricans. It’s amazing how the same silly arguments keep being recycled by liberals obsessed with racial bean counting.

          Anyway they got rid of the tests, more minorities were admitted but since they were ill prepared students, the school suffered mightily. You say it’s improved but NYT ran a story a few years ago about how many of the students can’t pass remedial courses and drop out.

    12. ET says:

      What is being proposed is a version of the quota system which is itself discriminatory! There is no magical quick fix that is not harsh and unfair, that does not penalize qualified and currently unqualified students.

      The real double edged problem? Too many grade schools produce too few students who are functioning at their best. There aren’t enough specialty high schools to accommodate all students who have and who could have the acumen to attend.

      Therefore, two very serious corrections have to be instituted immediately:
      1) Provide better education in all city schools to raise the levels of student acumen. You have to prepare students to qualify for the education you wish more to have.
      2) Provide more specialty schools to accommodate all students who do achieve higher levels of acumen.

      Yes, this takes time and lots of effort and some money. The results, however, will be more than ample reward.

    13. Maria Garcia says:

      What about the kids who really want to go to these schools but don’t live in the district and Excel in everything.

    14. Deepika says:

      I do not know how imp my voice is but I am going to say any way. It is wro h for Blasio and chancellor to say that asian and white kids are privileged and Hispanics and African Americans are not.I have seen asian Nd white parents making scarifices to send their kids to tutors and scarifice on other things.
      Middle class pays taxes,makes sacrifices, no meal money,no food stamps, no free medical insurance and now this nonsense.
      My daughter is working so hard for specialized high school.
      The political system is settling up the students to fail with this new plan spreading frustration and not diversity.

    15. concerned parent says:

      It should also be noted that this legislation was fully endorsed and supported by Upper West Side State Assembly Representative Linda Rosenthal. It seems that she is completely out of touch with her constituency and I would be very interested to hear why she supported such a controversial bill without input from those so profoundly impacted.

    16. ol-perfesser says:

      It’s actually worse that it sounds. Imagine the pressure on teachers to give out high grades in Middle School so that kids will rank in the top 7%! Plus will all courses count the same? Suppose you’re in a class with a lot of smart kids. How is that going to be adjusted for? Everyone gets an A?

      This is a stupid idea.

    17. UWS actual liberal says:

      Most of the families are fairly silly anyway. They are wasting thousands and thousands upon dollars for tutoring and test prep that they want to claim doesn’t even give their kids an advantage…. or maybe it does (but that means they have an unfair advantage and thus reform is necessary, but let’s pretend it doesn’t).

      Do we really want the kind of kids who waste hundreds of hours on test prep for nothing* populating our best schools? Let the kids who do well on their own (or even facing huge obstacles) at these top schools.

    18. Terry Siegel says:

      A numerical percentage is no way to select the “best and the brightest.”
      Society can benefit greatly from the early determination and rigorous education of students with the most potential The eight
      Nobel Prize winners who attended Bronx Science are but a small sample of what its graduates have given back to society. Perhaps
      admission should be determined by more than
      one test but the goal should always be to find the “best” and should have nothing to do with “diversity.” Are the Mayor and Chancellor suggesting that other city High Schools are incapable of preparing their students to lead productive and successful lives?

    19. Denali Boy says:

      Many have commented re the fact that the top 7% will include many who are ill prepared for a rigorous academic program at the elite high schools. Either many will fail/drop out or the curriculum will be revised to insure that these students will not fail.

      In the old days the vast majority of kids at Bronx Science and Sty and BT were white. Another racial group wanted their kids to attend these schools. I believe this group today is the poorest ethnic group in NYC. They didn’t ask to redo the admissions protocol-they encouraged their kids to study and get accepted by scoring well on the TEST. Crazy concept, eh. I know it’s not politically correct but perhaps black/hispanic parent (s) should provide the same direction/encouragement/interest as their Asian neighbors.

      • Bruce E. Bernstein says:

        Denali boy,

        you’re wrong on certain facts, and you’re even more wrong in your attitude.

        Denali boy says:

        “In the old days the vast majority of kids at Bronx Science and Sty and BT were white.”

        actually, in 1989/90, there was a much higher percentage of Blacks and Hispanics in Stuy, Science, and Brooklyn Tech, and white made up less than 50% in each school. In fact, Brooklyn tech was majority Black and Hispanic! this was before the “test prep” courses got so very very popular.

        Denali Boy says:

        “I know it’s not politically correct but perhaps black/hispanic parent (s) should provide the same direction/encouragement/interest as their Asian neighbors.”

        I love the way you make such generalizations about the parenting skills of entire ethnic groups. So — do the 35% of Asians who get substandard (less than 3) grades on the ELA test have “bad parents”?

        “PC” is, ironically, a “PC” term for your argument. I’ll give it a more blunt, and more accurate, term: a racist generalization.

    20. Shelley says:

      There is a lot people can tolerate from DeBlasio, but when he starts messing with their kids’ schools, he has crossed the line. As former UWS parents of young children, we saw this coming down the pipeline a few years ago. Our kids are of average intelligence, but like any parent, we want the absolute best education we can get for them. Unable to afford private school for our 3 kids, we didn’t want to roll the dice with them getting a (ever increasingly) high test score to guarantee a good middle school and high school education, so we moved to the beautiful suburbs of Westchester County. The public schools in our town (as in many NYC suburban towns) are outstanding. With one annual property tax bill, we can send as many kids we want through the school system. It doesn’t matter what they score on the ELA’s or whatever state tests, they are all guaranteed to go to a great middle and high school. So don’t let buffoons like Deblasio stop you from doing what’s best for you and your children!