Ending selective admissions for top performing public middle schools in New York will disadvantage the city’s brightest and highest achieving students as well as those who are not academically gifted.
New York had 1.1 million public school students, though that number has now shrunk to 900,000 or so, and they are not all academically gifted. Most of the kids who have left the public school system since the pandemic are from low-income families. Those who are not academically gifted, or even who are not academically driven, are not stupid, bad, or in need of having all the super smart kids descend on their classes.
De Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers believe that because the diversity at the top performing middle and high schools does not reflect the ethnic and racial makeup of the city, there’s something wrong with these schools. Instead of being pleased that the city is able to serve the most academically gifted students with free, world-class educations, de Blasio and the UFT think they need to destroy those programs and replace them with, well, nothing.
As Eliza Schapiro wrote in The New York Times, “In doing this, Mr. de Blasio is essentially piloting an experiment that, if deemed successful, could permanently end the city’s academically selective middle schools, which tend to be much whiter than the district overall.” Most of the city’s top achieving students, however, are Asian.
The gifted kids will remain in their neighbourhood zoned schools as the admissions standards for middle schools are put on hold. Those top schools will now admit kids based on a lottery. Sheer chance will decide which kids end up in the schools with the most academically rigorous pace.