Shaun Donovan is the latest mayoral candidate to call for permanently eliminating middle school admissions screens but said he wants to change the Specialized High School Admissions Test instead of scrapping it.
Admissions screens, which include high-stakes tests among other metrics, can have an outsize impact on a student’s academic career. But they are increasingly seen as among the worst culprits in perpetuating notorious segregation in New York City schools. While less prevalent than middle school screens, the SHSAT has become a symbol of the type of test that has historically helped bar Black and Latino students from the city’s eight elite high schools.
The de Blasio administration is removing admissions screens at all middle schools for a year and plans to administer the Specialized High School Admissions Test at the end of this month. Donovan said, as mayor, he would end the middle school screens permanently.
“I think fundamentally we do need to ensure that the screens are permanently lifted but we also have to recognize that eliminating screens is the first step,” Donovan told POLITICO. “An open lottery alone isn’t gonna lead to more diverse schools without more intentional efforts beyond that and so the screens is only, from my perspective … a first step.”