New York, NY, June 16, 2022 — Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education (PLACE NYC) congratulates all 27,669 students who took the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and applauds their work, dedication, and effort. Results were announced and offers were extended to students and their families on Tuesday, April 12. Yesterday, the NYC DOE Office of Student Enrollment released the breakdown of test-takers by ethnicity for each school, and for the first time, a Discovery participant summary.

Testing for application to a Specialized High School (SHS) is the clearest of all NYC high school admissions processes because it focuses on knowledge, proficiency, and readiness for the rigorous curriculum found in these academically challenging environments. However, the shortage of seats in SHS again leaves many highly qualified students without an appropriate enrollment offer and subject to the current regular high school admissions process, which is essentially a lottery even for screened programs that previously had rigorous criteria for admissions.  Due to the shortage of seats, only 17.7% of test-takers were able to secure an SHS seat for the 2022–23 school year.

“Covid changes made the application process even more confusing this year. The SHSAT remains the only fair, objective, and predictable process. My child prepared for the SHSAT by taking the practice tests and received an offer to an SHS. It’s an immense relief for us to know where she will be going in September,” said Deborah Kross, a member of the Citywide Council on High Schools and PLACE NYC. “For students that did not take the test or did not receive an offer, the DOE prolonged the release of HS results until June, and it is going to be a long summer for families whose children were placed on waitlists at many desirable programs.”

No new Specialized High Schools have been created since 2006 under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein, and there is a shortage of SHS programs year after year. Queens is especially in need of expansion, with only 2.7% of all SHS seats located in that borough with this year’s 121 offers out of 4,908 placements (including Discovery invitations).

PLACE NYC Co-Founder and current candidate for NY State Senate Vito LaBella’s daughter Morgan went through this difficult process. “She was fortunate enough to earn a seat at Brooklyn Technical High School, but some of her equally qualified classmates did not,” says LaBella. “She had to comfort devastated friends who received no offer to any selective high school despite having top i-Ready test scores and grades. This is unconscionable and must not stand.”

If Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David Banks deliver on their promises to expand and build additional Specialized High Schools, more students from across all five boroughs of NYC will have access and opportunity to receive an accelerated and rigorous education that meets their learning needs and helps them to achieve their maximum potential. Without the current administration focusing on improving curricula, expectations, and rigor of education in all our K–8 schools, the SHSAT test will continue to be the scapegoat for DOE’s failure to properly educate all students.