Apart from his efforts to overhaul admissions to specialized schools, Mr. de Blasio has not made the educational integration of the 1,800 schools he controls a top priority during his two terms as mayor. Disagreements between the mayor and Richard A. Carranza, the former chancellor of schools, over how aggressively pursuing desegregation policies contributed to Mr Carranza’s resignation earlier this year.
The city’s new chancellor, Meisha Porter, called on the state to eliminate the exam in a statement Thursday. “I have known since I was 21 as an educator that many more students could thrive in our special secondary schools, if given the chance,” she said. “Instead, continued use of the admission test in special secondary schools will produce the same unacceptable results over and over again.”
Brooklyn Technical High School and Brooklyn Latin School, both specialty high schools, tend to enroll slightly higher numbers of black and Latino students than the other six schools, and this year was no exception. Brooklyn Tech made offers to 76 Latino students and 64 black students, out of a total freshman class of 1607, by far the largest of any specialty school.
Mr de Blasio’s efforts to get rid of the test failed in Albany in 2018, but the pandemic intensified pressure on the mayor to take desegregation measures before stepping down at the end of the year .
Late last year, he announced sweeping changes in the way hundreds of academically selective middle and high schools admit students. Standardized test data and scoring information was not available during the pandemic, preventing many schools from sorting students as they usually do.
City Hall controls admissions to all schools in New York City, except for three of the specialty high schools, which are controlled by Albany. Changes in selective college and high school admissions, as well as gifted and talented programs for elementary school students, would do much more to desegregate the school system than eliminate the special school entrance exam, said experts.
But the paltry numbers of black and Latino students in places like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, considered the crown jewels of the system, have become a potent symbol of the obstacles many of the city’s students face trying to access. to top quality schools.