Bill de Blasio Uses Pandemic to End ‘Discriminatory’ Screening in Schools

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stands at P.S. 188 as he welcomes elementary school students back to the city's public schools for in-person learning on September 29, 2020 in New York City. Middle and high schoolers will start on Oct. 1 while Pre-K students and students with disabilities …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is taking advantage of the disarray of the city’s school system caused by the pandemic “crisis” to make changes to how some selective middle and high schools admit students in order to allow more black and Hispanic students entry.

The New York Times reported in June that de Blasio views the use of screening criteria such as “attendance, grades, test scores, school work and sometimes interviews and recommendations” for students to be admitted to selective city schools as a tool of “segregation” because many black and Hispanic students do not achieve the level required for admission.

“Critics say that the process is inherently unfair, because it privileges children whose families have the time and money to navigate the complex system and pay for test preparation or consultants,” Times education columnist Eliza Shapiro wrote, “and that it discriminates against qualified but low-income black and Hispanic students”:

On Friday, Shapiro wrote that the pandemic has “finally prompted Mr. de Blasio … to implement some of the most sweeping school integration measures in New York City’s recent history.”

“By the time I leave the mayoralty, I think we will have put the city on a very different course, certainly vis-à-vis screened schools,” the mayor, who is in his seventh year of office, said Friday. “This is clearly a beginning.”

According to the Times report, the mayor’s new policies will alter how about 400 of the city’s 1,800 schools screen for admission. What will not be affected, however, is how students are admitted to the city’s most elite selective high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School and Bronx High School of Science.

As Breitbart News reported in 2018, Asian American families fiercely criticized de Blasio’s ultimately failed attempt to integrate the elite specialized high schools by eliminating the entrance exam. The families claimed he was creating further divisiveness.

“The mayor is pitting minority against minority and that’s really messed up,” said Kenneth Chiu, president of the New York City Asian-American Democratic Club, the New York Post reported at the time:

Middle schools are expected to see the greatest changes in the current plan, as de Blasio ends all admissions criteria, including grades and test scores, adopting, instead, a random lottery.


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