BROOKLYN, NY– NYC Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-36) released the following statement upon news that Mayor Bill de Blasio has dropped his plan to eliminate the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT):

“I am glad that the Mayor and his office were responsive to the concerns of New York City parents, and dropped his plans to scrap the Specialized High School Admissions Test. It is my hope that the administration engages in honest and open-minded dialogue that identifies truly effective solutions for maximizing opportunity for students of all backgrounds to gain admission to our city’s specialized high schools.

As the father of six children, I have seen many iterations of the Department of Education, and have concerns about the ability of the administration to effectively implement policies that desegregate our school system without impeding on opportunity for high-performing students. The state of diversity in our schools is completely unacceptable, with significant under-representation of black and Hispanic students in the city’s specialized high schools. The Mayor and Chancellor have a responsibility to ensure that any reforms made are reflective of the input of a wide-range of parents and stakeholders.

The City must focus on improving and expanding programming that prepares students of all backgrounds for greater success, both later in their academic careers, and in their lives more broadly. This means reforming and expanding the gifted and talented program and creating more enrichment opportunities in middle schools to better equip students for the SHSAT. In 2018, I made a request to Chancellor Carranza to invest $1 million for SHSAT test preparation and enrichment programs in New York City schools. Additionally, I am a proponent of making the SHSAT available for all students on a weekday, and doubling the number of specialized high school seats / increasing the number of specialized high schools.

Our school system must be reformed in a way that promotes equal access to opportunity and modernizes curricula to stay on par with other advanced nations in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. I support the de Blasio administration’s intention of reducing segregation in our city’s schools, and encourage the administration to identify solutions in an inclusive way that maximizes opportunity for all students. I welcome being a partner in this effort.”