Education News Roundup #51: HS Admissions Fallout, Mayoral Control Held Hostage, Parents Defend Merit, Fairfax Win, Outrage Over Toddler Masking

Top Story
Some parents set to flee NYC high schools as DOE chief Banks leaves entry to ‘lottery’
NY Post, 3/9/2022

Schools Chancellor David Banks has decided not to change the high school admissions process for next year — angering those who call it a glorified lottery and pleasing groups who back more diversity in competitive schools.

…Parent and Community Education Council 2 member Janie Hwang said her son had notched a grade average of roughly 98 over the last two years. But his assigned lottery number, Hwang said, put him in the bottom 2 percent of applicants in the expanded top bucket.

“We luckily prepared for this,” Hwang said. “He is going to a Catholic school. But my concern is for the families, many of them immigrant families, who don’t have the language or the wherewithal to know what to do at this point.”

Kaushik Das, who also sits on CEC 2, said the DOE should brace for a wave of parent attrition. The DOE’s recent history, he argued, has signaled a hostility towards advanced students.

“It’s demoralizing,” Das said. “He made the wrong choice. It’s true that no matter what way he turned he would upset parents. But he chose the path that will lead to fewer parents in the DOE and fewer parents in New York City.”
Other Top Stories

Mayoral Control or Bail Reform, Take Your Pick
Albany Dems will seek to block Mayor Adams from school control, demand ‘tweaks’
NY Post, 3/11/2022

State Assembly Democrats are moving to block New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ bid to extend mayoral control of city schools for four more years, demanding “tweaks” that would lessen his direct control over public education in the Big Apple.

It comes at a time when Adams is facing off against powerful Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) over his request for significant tweaks to the state’s controversial criminal justice reforms, which Heastie and many progressive Democratic lawmakers who loosened the laws under bail reform vigorously oppose.

“The mayor has good reason to be concerned. It’s not going to be considered in the budget bill,” Benedetto said.

Asian Parents Speak Out
Asian Parents Defend Merit and Challenge Discrimination Across the Country
Queens Chronicle, op-ed by Y. Chu, J. Hahn, A. Tse, 03/10/2022

As Asian parents, we can’t unsee the parallels with what is happening across the country at these top high schools. We see our children in the crosshairs in a war on merit solely because these schools are majority Asian.

While there is little doubt admissions changes impact Asian students disproportionately, it does a huge disservice to all students. An op-ed by Queens sixth grader Kristina Raevsky speaks pointedly to the message it sends to kids―“what’s the point of studying if I have the same chance of getting into a good high school as a student with an 80 average?

VIDEO NYC high school admissions controversy
Fox5 News, 3/10/2022

Banks Says No HS Changes
Schools chancellor will not make last-minute changes to high school admissions process
NY1, 3/9/2022

Schools Chancellor David Banks won’t make any last-minute changes to the high school application process – this year, anyway.

…The decision – which Banks revealed in an exclusive interview with NY1 – comes just days before high school applications are due, on Friday.

Stop Lowering Expectations
Improve education for Black students, don’t undermine high-end schools
NY Post Opinion, L. Powell, 3/9/2022

Whatever your position on the debate about screening students for high school placement, I think we can all agree that withholding information until the last minute and then creating an unnecessarily complex screening system is not the path to equity.

All along the SHSAT process has remained unchanged. It has been clear and consistent and easy to follow. The SHSAT is not the part of high-school admissions that is unfair to my child. What is unfair is implying that admissions screens must be lowered because Black children are incapable of the same levels of academic achievement as white or Asian kids.

Publicly announcing that the only way to increase Black and Latino enrollment at competitive high schools is to lower admissions standards is a denial of DOE’s failure to prepare Black children to meet those standards. It is also a slap in the face to hard-working Black and Latino children.

Other Headlines

NYC’s schools forever changed by COVID-19
NY Daily, 3/12/2022

San Francisco Mayor Replaces Ousted School Board Members
NY Times, 3/11/2022

A Win in Fairfax
Judge denies Fairfax schools option to leave Thomas Jefferson admissions policy in place
Washington Post, 3/11/2022

A federal judge has denied the request of Fairfax County Public Schools for a stay of his order invalidating the admissions system at prestigious magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, marking another serious blow for Virginia’s largest school system.

The stay, if granted, would have allowed the school district of 180,000 to proceed with the current admissions system, a “holistic review” process that takes into account factors such as socioeconomic status, for applicants to the Class of 2026.

Read it and weep: The new reading instruction emergency
NY Daily News Editorial, 3/10/2022

Keep fighting for selective high schools
T. Fordham Institute, 3/10/2022

Children As Pawns
The Grown-Ups Are Losing It
The Atlantic, 3/10/2022

We are seeing diminished numbers of children in our public schools, particularly our urban public schools.” In New York, more than 80,000 children have disappeared from city schools; in Los Angeles, more than 26,000; in Chicago, more than 24,000.

These kids, and the investments that come with them, may never return—the beginning of a cycle of attrition that could continue long after the pandemic ends and leave public schools even more underfunded and dilapidated than before. “It’s an open question whether the public-school system will recover,” Steiner said. “That is a real concern for democratic education.”

NYC schools ramping up COVID vaccine campaign for kids 5-11
NY Post, 3/10/2022

Push for charters continues in Queens
Queens Chronicle, 3/10/2022

Racial-equity warriors are hurting the disadvantaged by dumbing down schools
NY Post Opinion by B. McCaughey 3/10/2022

2/3 Children Shut Out of Museums
Want to see art? Show your vax pass–still
Crain’s NY, 3/10/2022

“…the majority of arts institutions did not end the mandate, including the majority of those in the city’s Cultural Institutions Group. Those in the group receive millions of dollars in public funding annually to maintain and operate their city-owned land and buildings “for the provision of cultural services and programs to the people of New York City.” 

…Two-thirds of city residents between the ages of 5 and 11 and one-quarter between 12 and 17 have not received the two doses of the vaccine they would need for entry. 

America tried exporting woke education — the UK fought back
NY Post Opinion by D. Murray, 3/10/2022

New USC Emails Reveal Ties Between Admissions, Athletics Fundraising
Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2022

The Forced Isolation of Children in the Covid Era
Wall Street Journal Opinion, 3/9/2022

Masking Policy Is Incredibly Irrational Right Now
The Atlantic, 3/9/2022

It’s ‘Alarming’: Children Are Severely Behind in Reading
NY Times, 3/8/2022

“What we’re seeing is that there are a lot of children who didn’t get the stimulation they need” during the pandemic to adequately develop early speech and reading skills, which are closely linked, Dr. Hogan said.

Adams blasts rogue principals as another tells kids to keep masks on in class
NY Post, 3/8/2022

Peak Conformity?
I Came to College Eager to Debate. I Found Self-Censorship Instead.
NY Times, 3/7/2022

I went to college to learn from my professors and peers. I welcomed an environment that champions intellectual diversity and rigorous disagreement. Instead, my college experience has been defined by strict ideological conformity. Students of all political persuasions hold back — in class discussions, in friendly conversations, on social media — from saying what we really think. Even as a liberal who has attended abortion rights protests and written about standing up to racism, I sometimes feel afraid to fully speak my mind.

NYC to face lawsuit over mask mandate for school kids under 5
NY Daily News, 3/7/2022

Deep Dive
What Happens When an Élite Public School Becomes Open to All?
The New Yorker, 3/7/2022

“…Johnson told me that more kids than usual were struggling: “There are a couple of students I really worry about—because of the comprehension, but also because they give up.” …The meetings were illuminating. One freshman who she’d thought was slacking off turned out to have a third-grade reading level: he wasn’t truculent, just petrified. Slipping so far through the cracks was a new problem at Lowell…”

Heastie & Co.’s latest outrageous anti-kid ploy: Delaying the renewal of mayoral control
NY Post Opinion, 3/7/2022

Parents swarm City Hall to protest continued mask mandates for kids under 4
NY Post, 3/7/2022

How a dad became ‘Enemy #1’ to teachers in Loudoun County, Virginia
NY Post, 3/6/2022

Davison quickly realized that schools were measuring themselves wrong. They commonly reported performance was based on the percentage of students who passed state exams. This led to schools in wealthy areas looking good, and schools in poor neighborhoods looking bad. But those numbers were reflecting the economic status and parental involvement of the students in the school, not the quality of the school itself. Teachers liked it that way, because they could point out that poor numbers were not their fault, and pivot to laments about class and race.

Chilling Speech with D-210
Silencing Parent Advocates
City Journal, 3/2/2022

Around midnight on December 22, the New York City Panel for Education Policy wrapped up a seven-hour meeting by passing policy D-210, billed as a measure to combat harassment and discrimination. Unfortunately, the regulation risks chilling the speech of parent advocates by giving public officials a tool to silence dissent. Siding with free speech means rescinding this ill-conceived, constitutionally dubious rule.