Chancellor to Asian Parents Against NY School Desegregation: You Better Make Room for Black and Latino Kids

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New York School Desegregation
Chancellor Richard Carranza hopes to diversify the city’s most prestigious high schools by doing away with the Specialized High School Admissions Test. (Photo by Jefferson Siegel / New York Daily News)

Parents of Asian students who attend New York’s coveted specialized public high schools have come out in staunch opposition to the city’s plans to overhaul the system to make room for more Black and Latino students.

The proposed changes are a part of a plan to combat severe racial segregation in the city’s eight most prestigious high schools, The New York Daily News reported. Black and Latino kids account for just 1 in 10 of the students enrolled in these specialized high schools but make up roughly 70 percent of the city’s overall student body.

Meanwhile, Asian students comprise 62 of the kids enrolled in specialized schools but are just 16 percent of the city’s public school students.

City education Chancellor Richard Carranza now wants to scrap the Specialized High School Admissions Test, and instead admit the top seven percent of public middle school students based on their grades and standardized test scores, the newspaper reported. The effort has received overwhelming support from Mayor Bill De Blasio, who, like Carranza, wants to desegregate the premier schools to better reflect the unique diversity of the city.

Many Asian parents contest the controversial plan, however, because it would give Black and Latino kids a greater share of the seats at the world-famous schools. Efforts to diversify schools in Manhattan’s majority-white Upper West Side have also made parents hopping mad.

“I just don’t buy into the narrative that any one ethnic group owns admission to these schools,” Carranza told Fox 5’s “Good Day New York” on Tuesday. “We’re systematically excluding students in the most diverse city in the world from opportunities. In this particular case, [it’s] specialized schools.

“I think we have a moral obligation,” he added.

The plan was met with protests Monday night as Asian groups rallied in Brooklyn and again at City Hall on Tuesday, urging city leaders to keep the placement test. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the education controversy “complex” and argued it shouldn’t devolve into a “political fight.”

With the deal giving Mayor de Blasio control over the city’s schools set to expire next year, the desegregation plan will likely be part of a broad political agenda, he said.

“That debate should be about what’s going to help our kids the most; it should not be politicized,” the mayor said at an unrelated news conference. “Nor should, of course, the question of how we create equal access to high-quality education. I think they’re two separate matters.”

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