A group of Queens elected officials – including influential State Senator John Liu – told schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in a letter this week that most of their constituents support competitive academic admissions.
“It has become clear to our offices, based on anecdotal data, conversations with concerned residents of the neighborhoods we have the privilege of representing and a recent CEC 28 survey, that most of our constituents are in favor of keeping some screening metric,” the letter states.
In addition to Liu, the missive was signed by Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, State Sen. Leroy Comrie, Congresswoman Grace Meng, State Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi and David Weprin, and City Council members Adrienne Adams and Karen Koslowitz.
Critics of screened admissions argue that they favor families with resources and perpetuate acute racial separation in city classrooms.
Backers assert that academically advanced students should have opportunities for accelerated instruction.
With many traditional screening metrics including grades, attendance and state tests washed away by the coronavirus, the Department of Education is mulling how to handle admissions for next year.
Carranza has said that any overhaul of the system would be temporary to address the unique circumstances imposed by the pandemic. Advocacy groups have also stressed that the coronavirus has an especially severe impact on low-income communities.
But some parent groups note that increasingly influential education activist groups have demanded an outright ban on screened schools and suspect that any changes could become permanent.
Top DOE and local public officials have also voiced objections or concerns about the practice.
“While we fully understand the unique challenges COVID-19 has presented our school system and appreciate the need for a temporary change to the screening process for this year, it is important that we ensure that this change in the screening process is temporary and will only apply to the 2020-2021 school year,” the letter states.
Source: New York Post
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