NYC Public School Admissions Still in Limbo

New York, September 15, 2020 — NYC public school parents of 5th and 8th graders still have no answers from the DOE about how Middle and High School admissions will work for the 2021-22 school year. Students do not have state test scores or final report card grades, two of the key metrics traditionally relied on for admissions to academically screened schools. Families do not have answers about what admissions will look like or why the DOE has not provided any information about Middle and High School applications which typically begin in early October, just a few weeks away. 

During the spring listening tour conducted by Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack, the DOE committed to informing parents about changes to the upcoming admissions process by the summer. Having missed that deadline, it now appears families will start the already delayed school year with no information about how to apply to Middle and High Schools. PLACE NYC has requested specific details including whether the delayed start date of the 2020-21 school year will alter the traditional admissions process timeline, how admissions will be handled especially with regard to screened school admissions that will not be able to rely on state test scores or final grades, and how schools will handle tours and information sessions. Yet no responses have been provided.

It is clear from the DOE’s own admission engagements, CEC resolutions, and PLACE NYC surveys that parents and students want academic screening to be preserved.

  • A two-thirds majority of parents and students who spoke at DOE admissions engagements were in favor of keeping academic screening.
  • Four of the eight largest CEC’s – representing over 200,000 families – voted as a council in favor of screened admissions: CEC2, CEC30, CEC24, CEC28.
  • A survey of PTA president’s by the largest President’s Council – District 2 – demonstrated overwhelming support by respondents for the continued use of both grades and test scores for Middle and High School admissions.
  • Over 92% of parents surveyed by PLACE NYC were “Extremely or Very Concerned” about possible changes to school admissions in the wake of the end-of-year grading policy instituted by the DOE.

DOE officials repeatedly say that they understand the toll this uncertainty takes on parents and students – in the midst of Covid-19 – but have yet to provide any clarity to tens of thousands of families. The failure to provide clear plans and assurances regarding an education path for thousands of students is one of the reasons families are leaving the city.

Incoming 4th and 7th grade parents are now anxious about how admissions will work for the 2022-23 school year, given the impending year of blended learning and uncertainty about state tests. 

Parents and students have a right to clear guidance about how admissions will work. There is no excuse to not formulate a plan, communicate it to families, and provide a timeline. PLACE NYC calls on the DOE to provide answers to families.