Big debate in New York City over admissions to the city’s selective public high schools, which function as their own school system within the school system. They’re not at all diverse relative to the demographics of the public school population in the city. People fall roughly into three camps about that issue 1) that’s a problem that is going to require some complicated fixes b) that’s not a problem policymakers can do a lot about and c) that’s a problem and the admissions have to be changed. Here’s the school chancellor:
“Either you believe that black and Latino students can’t perform and don’t have a role in these schools, or the system is somehow not set up to capture the full array of talent in our school system,” he said. Right now, only 9 percent of specialized high school students are black or Latino.
What’s interesting, is that you can agree with the chancellor, Richard Carranza, and think that the system has failed kids up until the point they test for these schools – or don’t even bother to test. So one solution is the new admissions strategy city officials want to move to, but another is to get serious about early – and universal – screening for talent, better support for students around admission to these schools, and better quality of education overall in the early grades. In other words, a big question here is whether the city’s approach is really progress or just a band-aid on a much deeper wound? Sure, there are plenty of people against both of those approaches who think the status quo is fine, but the fulcrum of the debate should be elsewhere and with a long term focus.
The debate on this will be noisy and it won’t be pretty – people will have a field day with hypocrisy from many parents and all that. Politically, the mayor’s move will also undercut the argument that diversity need not come at the expense of merit – people are already seizing on that. Income versus race preferences may also emerge as a big issue. His hostility to charters is little help here. But underneath all that are some serious questions about what a genuinely equitable system might look like and why we have to have this conversation in the first place?
Tim Daly on a parental rights template.
Civics education should be teaching students about the civic process, not intellectually massaging them to adopt your left, right, center, libertarian, anarchist, or whatever views.
“Thirteen Reasons Why” is back, that’s not necessarily good news.
“When an active ‘bullfight’ comes out over the radio,” police wrote, “meetings take pause and everyone listens for the next update.”