Education News Roundup #46 HS Admissions Outrage, School Safety Concerns, Racist MS Admissions Policies

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Top Story
NYC’s new high school admissions selection discounts good grades
NP Post, 2/5/2022

The city’s high school application process is now a crapshoot — and top grades barely matter.

One month before the application deadline, the Department of Education unveiled its long-awaited new admission system, lowering the bar for entry into many competitive high schools — and tossing kids with a range of academic achievement into a random hopper.

“It’s now essentially a lottery system masquerading as a selective process,” said Effie Zakry, a vice-president of the Citywide Council on High Schools, a DOE parental advisory body.

…When Principal Nancy Harris at Manhattan’s Spruce Street School explained the new selection system to eighth-graders last week, “The auditorium went nuts,” said Liv Olsen, 13. “A lot of kids were really angry: ‘What about kids who have better grades? What about everyone in this room? What the hell?’” 
Other Top Headlines
Violence Unchecked
Manhattan school plagued with violence, parents say concerns neglected
NY Post, 2/4/2022

Violence has spiraled at a Manhattan middle school in one of the city’s top districts this year — and administrators aren’t doing enough to stop it, a group of parents told the Post.

A string of incidents at 75 Morton, including a bus stop beating and a cafeteria body slam, drew a rare visit from Department of Education security chief Mark Rampersant on Friday, sources said.

VIDEO – Parents Speaking Up
New York City Parents Sound Alarm Over School Safety Issues, But Say Their Concerns Are Being Ignored
CBS2, 2/4/2022

Seventh grader Paul Ramos said there’s not enough safety agents to monitor the six floors of the school. After someone hit him with a locker door, he transferred out last month.

“I was being kicked around, messed with, punched,” Ramos said.

“So he basically couldn’t concentrate on learning,” his mother, Olivia Ramos, added. “There’s not a librarian, but there’s five assistant principals. So you tell me where the priorities are there.”

PLACE NYC Members Shout-Out
Parents call new policy ‘anti-Asian’
Queens Chronicle, 2/3/2022

In a letter written to the Chronicle, public school parents and PLACE NYC co-founders Yiatin Chu, Chien Kwok and Vito LaBella stated, “Why the arbitrary cut-off? For Asian-American families who are disproportionately excluded from this change, it does not seem so arbitrary.”

“Giving sibling priority to those admitted under merit runs the ‘risk’ of admitting more Asian students,” the letter continued.

HS Admissions Woes
Families Face “Daunting” High School Admissions Process Once Again
The Gothamist, 2/1/2022

Parents with kids applying to selective high schools said they are struggling to navigate this year’s changes. “I wish I knew what the DOE was trying to achieve here,” said Meiri Fox. “If they wanted to create more stress for families, they’ve succeeded.”

PLACE NYC and this newsletter are the efforts of parent volunteers who contribute our time and skills to advance the advocacy for high quality education. While this is our passion, we incur inevitable expenses on email, website, advertising and promotion of our research, rallies and information seminars. If you are able to, please consider donating to our GoFundMe; even a $5 donation would help our efforts. Thank you. ———-
Other Headlines

Academic, emotional concerns outweigh COVID-19 risks in parents’ views about keeping schools open
Pew Research Center, 2/4/2022

Racist MS Admissions Policies?
End middle-school policies that harm Asian families
Queens Chronicle, 2/3/2022

We side with PLACE, along with the driven Asian-American students who have earned and continue to earn their spots in the city’s best schools and everyone who believes that merit without regard to ethnicity is what should count when it comes to admissions to those institutions.

As we celebrate both Lunar New Year and the start of Black History Month, wouldn’t it be great for our city’s new leaders to show that they support a colorblind educational system that recognizes and fosters excellence among all?

A Chalkbeat toolkit for tracking COVID relief spending by schools
Chalkbeat, 2/3/2022

Debate Point
With vaccines available mask mandates are not necessary in school
USA Today Opinion, 2/3/2022

After two years of living with one disruption after another, the evidence is clear: The pandemic and the loss of normalcy are taking a tremendous toll on students, with the data on mental health being particularly alarming. 

What College Students Really Think About Cancel Culture
The Atlantic, 2/2/2022

Urgent Advice
Save our schools! The Post’s plea to Hochul, Albany and Adams
NY Post, 2/1/2022

We believe in public education. New York City managed to deliver for generations of immigrants, as well as for Americans with a past of racial oppression. But New Yorkers have lost faith in the DOE schools, and for good reason. Without a clear turnaround, the current not-so-slow exodus will accelerate.

Remote learning led to rampant cheating at NYC’s Stuyvesant High School
NY Post, 2/1/2022

Eric Adams asked Kathy Hochul for 3 years of schools control, she gave him 4 in ‘collaborative’ gesture
NY Post, 2/1/2022

Donors Rule
Hochul won’t back charter school expansion due to union’s support: critics
NY Post 2/1/2022

Gov. Kathy Hochul is refusing to use her political muscle to promote the expansion of popular charter schools after getting endorsed by the powerful teachers union, which opposes the privately-run schools.

Enrollment jumps at NYC charters, public schools lose 62,000 students
NY Post 2/1/2022

Pfizer Asks FDA to Authorize Its Covid-19 Vaccine for Young Children
Wall Street Journal, 2/1/2022

As cases plummet, NYC tweaks COVID testing at schools and limits remote learning
Chalkbeat, 1/31/2022

In another change, officials announced that starting Wednesday only students who test positive or fail the city’s health screener will be eligible for remote instruction, reversing the policy from just two weeks ago that gave schools discretion to provide online work for students who stayed home for a variety of reasons.

Mayor Adams Reaffirms Commitment to School Safety Agents After NYC Student Busted WIth Backpack Full of Weapons
NY Daily News, 1/31/2022

Making the (Better) Grades
SUNY-approved charter schools in NYC outperform public schools: study
NY Post, 1/30/2022

According to the report, 88 percent of SUNY charters in New York City did better than their neighboring traditional public schools on the English Language Arts exam in 2019, the last given before the coronavirus pandemic upended schools.

When it came to math, 91 percent of SUNY-authorized charters bested their surrounding local district schools, according to the study.

Public education is facing a crisis of epic proportions
Washington Post, 1/30/2022

Will a Mask Debate Split Blue States?
NY Times Opinion, 1/29/2022

Inflection Point?
Hochul extends business mask mandate to Feb. 10, school mask policy remains indefinite
Times Union, 1/28/2022

“The school districts argue that Hochul’s administration, after issuing an Aug. 27 emergency order mandating masks in schools, violated its authority when the emergency rule was renewed 90 days later. The districts say that violated the provisions of the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA). They said the second emergency mask rule expired on Jan. 23, but the administration continues to extend it.”

…Still, in a federal case last year, in which the attorney general’s office was defending New York’s vaccine mandate, attorneys for the state argued that “a masking requirement, while helpful … (would) not prevent transmission” of COVID-19. 

Student caught with backpack filled with weapons at Manhattan school
NY Daily News, 1/28/2022