New York, June 8, 2020 — Last week the Department of Education completed their Admissions Engagement meetings in each borough with 67% of speakers advocating to keep screens for next year’s admission cycle.
Despite the DOE allotting just two hours in each borough and taking up almost 30 minutes at the beginning of each session, parents and students made themselves clear: they do not want the DOE taking advantage of “a good crisis” to eliminate screened admissions.
In Queens, 21 speakers were in favor of keeping screened schools, compared with five who were opposed. In Staten Island, all 22 parents who spoke about screens were in favor of maintaining screens. Brooklyn saw a split, with 19 parents in favor of screens, and 17 against. Manhattan participants were in favor of screens by 2 to 1 (21 vs. 9). The Bronx was the only borough with the majority of parents looking to eliminate screens (11 vs. 4).
The DOE’s belated attempt at engagement comes after the surprise move to eliminate grades and switch to a Pass/Fail system without any parent input.
PLACE NYC’s petition “To Stop Carranza From Using The Covid Crisis To Overhaul School Admissions Policies” addressing the grading and admission policies gathered over 4,000 signatures in just three weeks.
Despite repeated requests to engage directly with 4th and 7th grade families who are the only direct stakeholders on this issue, the DOE has instead insisted upon meeting with many who would not be affected by the final decision. We ask once again that the DOE reach out directly to 4th and 7th grade families with a simple survey, then make those results (and any other survey results) public. We also ask that, if the DOE is going to cite any additional feedback that helped inform their ultimate decision, they make that feedback public as well.
The DOE must be transparent, as the best available public information points to the majority of families demanding that the DOE preserve the academic matching of schools with students for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and beyond. PLACE NYC strongly encourages the DOE to: 1) hold public hearings on their final proposal so parents and students can provide comment, and 2) focus on the building of human capital in all students by ensuring all students in all schools receive a challenging and rigorous quality education starting in elementary school.