Few New York college admissions screens survive, which suits us

After a pandemic in which admissions criteria to selective colleges in the five boroughs gave way to lottery-based entry, Chancellor David Banks rightly opened the door to community school district superintendents for bring back on a case-by-case basis after consultation with Parents. The result is positive: in the future, students will no longer have to jump through special barriers to enter nearly 90% of the city’s colleges, a sharp drop from the pre-pandemic status quo. Expect some grumbling but a better mix of kids from all walks of life.

We never liked the college screens, which in nearly 200 schools and programs required fifth-graders to compete for slots using grades, test scores, and attendance as young as 9. . The resulting sorting has generally reinforced housing segregation, often for little or no academic benefit. Inclusion is not only a good thing in a diverse city; when done well, it benefits everyone academically. When Brooklyn’s District 15 scrapped its college entrance screens, naysayers suggested dissatisfied white families would flee in droves. This does not happen.

In a system that serves nearly a million children, screens have a limited place – it’s good to have a few schools that cater to the performing arts or gifted students, and certainly to have programs within schools that challenge students to learn at a faster pace. rate – but the rule should be free entry.

This is now the case in New York: children will rank their preferences and then be matched. And even when the screens are now in use, they won’t include lateness, attendance, or state test scores, just performance in fourth-grade classes. It’s positive. The only word to penalize a young person because she had the flu for two weeks, or because a subway train was delayed, is madness.

What is essential now is that the many, many screen-free schools do the hard work of delivering rigorous and appropriate instruction to all of their students. No matter their race or ethnicity, different children learn at different rates in different subjects. Teachers should challenge every child.

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