Assemblyman Dinowitz Decries Efforts to End Merit-Based Admissions in Specialized High Schools

Assembly Education Committee votes to support legislation to phase out specialized high school admissions test in favor of subjective process

Bronx, NY – A proposal of significant magnitude to eliminate the specialized high school admissions test (SHSAT) has continued to progress at breakneck pace, as the Assembly Committee on Education voted in favor of an amended bill which was only introduced on June 1. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) issued the following statement in response:

“I am deeply troubled by the efforts to steamroll a proposal for legislation of significant magnitude through the Assembly, without public hearing and without adequate time to bring all interested parties into the process.

The proposal to eliminate the SHSAT admission standard flatly ignores the underlying causes of disparity in these test results which often begin from a very young age, even before a child enters school, and not in eighth grade as the Department of Education would like us to believe. We need to be focusing on education at all levels - from preschool to eighth grade and beyond - in order to achieve demographic academic parity. DOE would rather rig what should be an objective process so they can pretend the problem is solved instead of putting in the hard work to improve failing primary and middle schools.

By choosing to focus only on the SHSAT admission standard, DOE is ignoring 95% of high school students that don’t go to specialized high schools. They are ignoring the fact that many students have not received the necessary academic preparation by the end of seventh grade in order to succeed on a standardized test. By choosing to focus only on the SHSAT, DOE wants us to believe that if they can get a select few additional students from struggling middle schools into a specialized high school, that they have somehow solved disparities that affect hundreds of thousands of students in New York City. This is not a good way to ensure that all students in New York City have access to high quality public education, and to act like it does is disingenuous and is a disservice to the future of our kids.”