The school year and the legislative session in Albany are ending without any changes to the admissions process for the city's elite public high schools.
"It's contentious, difficult, challenging stuff in a multi-ethnic society that's dealing with a lot of history,” Mayor de Blasio said.
Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza say the test that is the sole basis for admission is flawed, and is responsible for the lack of diversity at the schools.
But his alternative to allow the top 7% of students at each middle school to attend the elite high schools has gone nowhere in Albany. It faced intense opposition from alumni groups. And it was battered by cries of racism from the Asian community, which would see fewer of its students gain admission to the schools.
"It's gone nowhere except downward ever since. He's probably done more harm than good," said David Bloomfield, a CUNY Professor.
Brooklyn college education professor David Bloomfield says Albany's inaction puts pressure on City Hall to take unilateral action. A state law known as Hecht Calandra determines the admissions process at the three original elite high schools — Bronx Science, Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech. But the city can stop using the test at five newer high schools
"Even though Carranza, the chancellor, is going around shouting that the SHSAT has racist implications and was created under racist intentions, he suddenly gets cagey when we ask him to remove the high schools that he could remove with one signature," said Bloomfield.
State Senator John Liu, head of the New York City Education Committee says the third time won't be the charm if the mayor submits the same proposal as he did this year and last.
"It came out of a process that excluded an important part of the city,” said State Senator John Liu. “It cannot be the basis for any discussions going forward. It cannot be the starting point. It certainly cannot be passed."
The mayor's office sidestepped a question about whether the city will scrap the test for the five newer schools, issuing a prepared statement instead.
“The Hecht Calandra Act was enacted almost 40 years ago to limit diversity in the specialized high schools. The Mayor and Chancellor have offered the only real proposal to open up opportunity for all of our students, and they won’t rest until the specialized high schools look like our amazingly diverse city.”