PLACE NYC Stands in Support of Merit-Based Excellence at Hunter College High School

New York, NY, May 14, 2021 — Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education (PLACE NYC) stands in support of merit-based academic excellence at Hunter College High School (HCHS) and applaud the decision by school administration to continue to use its rigorous admissions process. We reject efforts by politicians and special interests to push admissions policies that seek to lower educational standards and expectations, and reduce the number of Asian students in the name of equity. We stand in solidarity with the parents of HCHS for Quality Education for All (HCHS4QED) who have stood up in support of rigorous high quality education and against race based admissions. We advocate for improving K-8 education which then increases access to accelerated opportunities for all NYC public school students in a sustainable manner.

“The attack at HCHS on the merit-based admissions policy and the push for race-based admissions is part of a larger anti-education movement we are witnessing in NYC public schools and in other school districts across the country. In addition, given these policies are intended to reduce and limit the number of Asian students enrolled at the targeted schools in the name of equity, these policies are discriminatory against Asian students” says Lucas Liu, co-President of PLACE NYC. These are schools such as the eight Specialized High Schools in New York City, Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology in Fairfax, VA, Lowell High School in San Francisco, CA and Boston Latin School in Boston, MA.

The HCHS admissions screen only highlights the failure of the NYC DOE to provide a quality rigorous education to all our students, many who are Black and Hispanic. Instead, politicians looking for votes and special interests pushing for race-based admissions at HCHS have blamed and vilified Asian students as having “privilege” and “unfair” advantages due to “white adjacency”. This racist anti-Asian rhetoric has stirred resentment and has helped to fuel the violence and killing of Asians in the streets of New York and other cities across the nation. This must stop immediately.

The unacceptably low number of Blacks and Hispanics who are able to pass the HCHS’s objective and standardized admissions process is a reflection of the substandard education that NYC DOE has provided to so many minority students, most of whom are Black and Hispanic. This has resulted in only 30% of Black and Hispanic students achieving grade level proficient on NY State math and ELA tests. Changing to race based admissions will not address the underlying academic achievement gap which appears as early as 3rd grade. 

We are encouraged that the HCHS administration has formed a task force to investigate how to improve outreach and access to quality education for underrepresented groups. However, we implore the administration to ensure that the task force consists of members who represent the whole school community across truly diverse perspectives and are not dominated by anti-education and anti-Asian special interests. We hope that the task force will, with true collaboration with all community voices, identify the true root causes of low Black and Hispanic enrollment at HCHS, make recommendations and take steps to increase access while maintaining academic rigor and standards at the school.