Making Great Schools Mediocre

The Story

For decades, New York City’s selective high schools have provided kids with a merit-based opportunity to receive a world-class education. All incoming students have met or exceeded the required score on the competitive entrance exam, but Mayor de Blasio and his schools chief Richard Carranza are unhappy with the resulting racial demographics. They want to change the system to allow for the admission of less-qualified students—a change that could ultimately degrade the excellence of these schools.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Math: If the admissions process is changed, up to 10% of students in the specialized high schools could be below grade-level proficiency in math. Read more.

  2. Denied: A new system that prioritizes racial diversity over academic merit would deny admission to 1,500 Asian students currently qualified to get in under the current test-based framework. Read more.

  3. Poor: Critics charge that the system is unfair and elitist, but half the students at the specialized schools come from poor families. Read more.

“We’re not about improving the system. We’re about changing the system.”

Richard Carranza, New York City schools chancellor

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Two New Yorks By Frank J. Macchiarola (Spring 1993)

“Outer borough New Yorkers despair over the public schools. They believe the school system is in the hands of bureaucrats who don’t care and policy-makers who care about a political agenda rather than an educational one.”

And in other news...

“Crime in the subway rose last year, fueling a sense that the system is becoming less safe.”