New York, NY, December 19, 2020:  PLACE NYC calls for Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to improve and expand accelerated academic programs such as gifted, honors and other dedicated programs in middle and high schools to support the learning needs of all students to deliver on the “excellence for all” promised by the Mayor. The DOE must provide dedicated resources and programs for those students who require additional support. In the largest US school system with vast and varied learning levels, all students must be given the appropriately tailored curriculum that will challenge and motivate them and meet their educational needs in order to be successful.

Parents are outraged that the New York City Department of Education took advantage of COVID-19 by “not wasting a good crisis” to make drastic changes in the admissions policy just when students and their families need stability, focus on improving the delivery of remote and blended education and addressing the worsening education gap of disadvantaged students.

The drastic changes in middle school admissions policy is unfair to all students. As remote learning has widened the education gap while simultaneously reducing proficiency levels, students will need classrooms targeted to their ability level now more than ever. The admissions lottery for 80,000 5th graders continues Carranza’s pattern of disregarding the voices of NYC’s diverse communities, such as high performing Black and Hispanic students, many of whom choose charter schools due to the lack of accelerated, local programs, and low-income immigrant students from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, who seek their first step towards the American dream through rigorous academic programs.

Mayor de Blasio has been at the helm of NYC public schools for the past 7 years and failed to improve schools or close the achievement gap. Instead, he is distracting New Yorkers by falsely claiming he is improving diversity and equity. Adopting a lottery system is nothing more than an attempt to hide his failure to improve the K-5 education in which significant gaps appear as early as 3rd grade.

Chancellor Carranza inexplicably cited the lack of data as a key reason to remove academic-based admissions criteria for middle schools, while acknowledging that such data exists, and can be used for high school admissions. PLACE NYC implores high school principals to continue academic- and audition-based admissions criteria to ensure that students are matched appropriately to the curriculum at their schools. 

The advocacy of PLACE NYC and thousands of NYC parents helped secure some good news for students. The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) will be given starting January 27, with SHSAT registration beginning Monday December 21. PLACE NYC commends the DOE for their plan to conduct the test in-person at the students’ middle schools, making it convenient and safer for more students to take advantage of the opportunity–a truly equitable change.


PLACE NYC is the fastest growing parent advocacy group in New York City. In a short period of time, we have built a five-borough base of engaged, passionate parents who are deeply invested in the education of their children and every child in our city. PLACE NYC advocates for a high quality, challenging education for every student in all NYC DOE Public Schools by increasing the academic rigor of all school curricula. The parent leaders of PLACE NYC envision integrated classrooms of life-long learners wherein all students from across the entire spectrum of learning abilities are fully supported. We believe that accelerated curricula at all grade levels improve individual student outcomes, advance integration efforts and strengthen school quality.