New York, NY, September 29, 2022 – PLACE NYC applauds Chancellor Banks for improving the admissions system for both middle and high schools, including a return to screening by academic ability and achievement. Other improvements announced today include an earlier application and notification timeline as well as more centralized support for gathering data on prospective schools and submitting virtual auditions and additional materials. These changes acknowledge that all students require and deserve an academic environment that meets their individual learning needs and that parents should be respected for wanting a say in their children’s education.

For middle school admissions, we welcome back the use of academic screens determined on a district-by-district basis. Parent engagement must begin immediately in order to meet the October 26th deadline for feedback. PLACE NYC calls on all families with prospective middle school students to contact their district CEC representatives and District Family Leadership Coordinators to express their views on the reinstatement of academic screens in their district.

Founding Co-President of PLACE NYC Yiatin Chu said, “We formed PLACE NYC to advocate for academic rigor and merit in our schools. We are very pleased that Chancellor Banks has listened to parents and made significant improvements from last year’s admissions process.”

Regarding high school admissions, the continued utilization of random lottery numbers is not ideal, but the DOE has recalibrated the tier criteria which is a step in the right direction.

We also applaud the creation of three new schools in traditionally underserved areas to meet the needs of academically talented students in those neighborhoods. Alysa O’Shea, Co-President of PLACE NYC, notes, “As a resident of Southeast Queens, I am excited that an accelerated-learning high school is coming to my neighborhood in 2024. Chancellor Banks’ plan for providing learning academies to academically advanced children in underserved geographic areas is the welcome change that families have been asking for.” She continues, “Expanding access to quality schools can be further improved, particularly in Queens, by adding seats to existing accelerated schools. Let’s continue to take what works and expand on it!”

While we celebrate and agree with the Chancellor’s return to academic screening, we strongly urge the Chancellor to revisit standardized testing which can be incorporated as a metric in a way that is equitable and fair to students – especially those that apply to citywide schools where the applicant pool spans many districts with varied grading practices. No other school system in the country has a singular cohort of 75,000 students simultaneously applying to high school. With such a large number of students, the reliability and fairness of standardized test scores have an important role to play.

Finally, no student should ever have to rely on random luck or engage in a fight to receive their appropriate education. We call on the DOE to also focus on improving academic outcomes of all students starting at elementary school, while continuing to create accelerated opportunities in every school at every grade, and increase the number of schools with an accelerated model.