School admissions changes will make it easier for parents, students: officials

BROOKLYN — The middle school and high school admissions process for students in New York City is about to get a lot easier, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza, the head of the city's school system.

The two leaders unveiled a new application process Thursday that's said to be simpler and more straight forward. It will have "fewer deadlines, less paperwork and more transparency," according to de Blasio.

The new process will feature a single form for families to fill out, and will provide realtime updates on waitlists.

Applications will be due in December, with students finding out their fate in March. If they do get added to a waitlist, updates will be available online, or by calling the school.

The admissions change does not include adjustments to the city's specialized high schools, where controversy has surrounded entrance exams and school diversity.

"We attempted change. Round 1, it did not work," de Blasio told PIX11's Ayana Harry. "We've got to go back with a new approach, which we intend to do. But the underlying truth is still true in my view: the fundamental problem of a single test, which in our entire society has been banished basically."

He called the process to get into specialized schools a "broken admissions system."

About 27,500 eighth graders across the city took the Specialized High School admissions test, or SHSAT, this year.

Among the 4,798 students who received an offer to one of the city’s specialized high schools based on their exam score, only 506 black and Hispanic students received offers to schools, including Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School.

At Stuyvesant High School, for instance, of the 895 students admitted, only seven students were black, according to data released.

Craig Treadway and Kristine Garcia contributed to this report.

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