State Sen. John Liu: NYC school admissions changes require more scrutiny

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The specialized high school admissions exam is safe from sweeping changes — at least for now, the state Senate’s Big Apple education committee boss told The Post this week.

City Hall announced revamped admissions policies last week that scrapped academic screens for middle school kids next year to address the impact of the coronavirus, especially to low-income kids.

But state Sen. John Liu (D-Queens) said that Mayor Bill de Blasio will not have the political leverage to rapidly usher in any lasting education policy changes in the final year of his tenure.

“This administration will not be in a position to make any longstanding changes without a full public discussion,” he said. “Beyond the one year I don’t think there will be wholesale policy changes without a public discourse.”

Liu criticized City Hall for not releasing any information about Gifted and Talented programs during the announcement on middle and high school admissions.

“I’m not surprised,” he said. “Because none of this administration’s announcements have answered all questions pertaining to the subject matter at hand.”

Liu said he fully expects the roiling debate of screened schools to continue next year.

“Screened schools have been longstanding components of New York City education,” he said. “Whether they are root causes of continuing segregation is a topic that has to be thoroughly discussed. There are many different opinions on that question.”

While the specialized high school admissions test will remain intact next year, de Blasio called the system “broken” last week and in need of reform.

State law dictates the process at the city’s top high schools — Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech — and Liu said no changes are in the offing.

“This law remains intact,” he said. “And there are no plans to change it.”

Liu also addressed notable enrollment drops at city schools in the wake of coronavirus turmoil over the past year.

“I do have constituents who have departed the city,” he said. “Primarily because they want their kids in full in-person learning. But I would not say there is a mass exodus.  
This is the largest school system in the nation and there are bound to be fluctuations. Especially as we face an unprecedented crisis. We have some of the best schools in the world. The challenge is to keep it that way.”

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