You are reading

Two Queens Officials Call on Schools Chancellor Not to Scrap Geographic Priorities for High School Admissions

Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, located in Bayside, is one of 27 high schools across the city where students who live in the school zone get priority in admissions (Photo: GMaps)

Dec. 6, 2021 By Christian Murray

Two Queens elected leaders are urging the NYC Schools Chancellor not to end geographic priority in the high school admissions process.

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) and State Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside) sent a letter Friday to Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter in response to the Department of Education’s proposal to eliminate geographic priorities in the admissions process.

Next year, the Dept. of Education is expected to end geographical screening, which gives priority in the high school admissions process to students who live in a specific district, borough or neighborhood zone.

The change would affect many Queens high schools—such as Bayside High School, Benjamin N. Cardozo, and Francis Lewis—where seats are currently set aside for local children.

These schools are among the 27 high schools in the city that still give priority to students living in a certain zone for some seats, according to data shared by the DOE. One New York City high school, Queens Metropolitan in Forest Hills, gives all of its seats to students within its zone.

In addition, 235 high schools currently offer a borough priority. These screens would all be eliminated under the current proposal.

City officials announced in December 2020 that they planned to end all “geographic screens” for students applying to high school over the course of two years. They argue that the change makes the admissions process fairer and classrooms more diverse.

Liu, in the letter, said that ending the geographical priority for the 2022 year would be too abrupt and would lead to “chaos.” He said that children unable to attend local schools would then have to commute across the city to go elsewhere.

Critics of the change say that much of Queens is not served well by public transportation, which would be a hardship for students who would have to travel to other parts of the city.

“Limited transportation options remain an issue in Queens,” the pair wrote in the joint letter to Porter. “In the eastern portion of the borough, there is no subway access, and city buses provide lengthy commute times and often unreliable service. With over 12,000 Queens high school students already commuting to other boroughs for school, many Queens high school students report commute times of upwards of two to three hours.”

The pair also noted in the letter that many Queens schools are already overcrowded, and more seats need to be added before geographical screens are lifted.

Queens high schools, the legislators wrote, are the most crowded schools in the City of New York, currently exceeding capacity by nearly 9,000 seats. In Northeast Queens, they said, Bayside High School is operating at 134 percent, and Benjamin N. Cardozo High School at 141 percent.

The final decision as to whether or not geographical screening remains has yet to be made, according to a Dept. of Education spokesperson. A decision is likely to be announced soon.

“We are reevaluating the policy to remove high school borough and zone priorities this admission cycle based on feedback we’ve received from school communities. As always, we are putting the needs of families front and center, and we will share details soon.”

Geographical screening ended at many high schools last year.

“The geographic phase out was always a two-year proposal – year one clearly demonstrated the value in removing district priorities and following community feedback, we’re reevaluating the year two component. Last year, 48 high schools removed their district priorities,” the DOE spokesperson said.

Braunstein – Liu Letter to Schools Chancellor by Queens Post on Scribd

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
Reggie

Getting rid of the high school “local zone” process is a montumentally stupid idea.

Students need an automatic backup high school in the event they don’t get admitted to the high school of their choice. It makes sense for this backup high school to be a school near their home.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

Jan. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.