NYC unveils policy changes for fairer admissions to middle, high schools

New York, Dec 19 : The New York City government has decided to change how its selective middle and high schools admit students in an effort to address concerns that the admissions policies discriminate against students of colour and worsen segregation.

“Today we announced changes to our high school and middle school admissions policies to make the process fairer. Middle school: One year pause on screens. High school: Eliminate geographic priority over next two years,” Xinhua news agency quoted the New York City government as saying in a tweet on Friday.

“This will make our schools more inclusive for all students,” it added.

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The changes to the high school and middle school policies will confront inequities that were exacerbated by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, adding that the changes will apply to the 2021 school year, for which admissions are happening now.

The Department of Education (DOE) said middle schools will not use academic records, auditions, or other screens or assessments to evaluate or admit students, and will maintain priority for students living in the district.

Priorities for high school admissions will be permanently eliminated this year, and all other geographic priorities like borough residence requirements will be eliminated next year, it added.

For high schools that academically “screen” students for admission, the DOE is strongly encouraging them to remove or alter their screens in the year ahead, but they may maintain them.

While Black and Latino students make up a majority of the students in New York City schools, they are significantly underrepresented in the selective schools where the changes are being applied.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told the media that making the changes “helps us meet this challenging moment when our children need us the most. And by lifting up all children, in all schools we are able to chart a bold path forward”.

According to The New York Times, the changes “will not affect admissions at the city’s specialized high schools or many of the city’s other screened high schools”.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the city’s ultra-competitive admissions process for middle and high schools next year.

Some parents are fighting to preserve the use of selective “screens” like grades, test scores and attendance, while advocates for more diverse schools hope the city will finally take action to dismantle the practice.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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