Manhattan’s top performing middle school students have been assigned to struggling high schools next year due to controversial admissions changes aimed at increasing diversity – and now some angry parents are scrambling for outings.
“My kid did everything she was supposed to do,” said Herbert Bauernebel, whose child in District 2 did not enter any of the 10 campuses she applied to despite an average of 97%. “She worked really hard. We are stunned.
Bauernebel said about 20 families from IS 276 in Battery Park City had not entered any of their listed schools and instead were transferred by default to the struggling Murray Bergtraum HS, who has long struggled with a declining enrollment and low academic measurements.
Parents from other middle schools in District 2 have reported similar uproar.
“People are desperate at this point,” said one mother. “Some plan to move, others opt for the private sector if they can afford it, others send their children to live with their grandparents. “
Sources in neighborhoods across the city – including District 30 in Queens – said other children with advanced schooling had found themselves in the same situation.
While places in District 2’s top schools were already scarce, recent admissions changes have further reduced their availability for local parents.
The DOE removed a district priority provision this year that reserved places for children who lived near the area and opened them to all children, regardless of their location.
Other major high schools in District 2 – including Eleanor Roosevelt HS, Baruch HS, Lab HS, and Millennium HS – recently revised their admission criteria.
They now each reserve at least 50 percent of seats for low-income applicants and have incorporated lotteries into their admission format.
Administrators argued that these measures would help increase diversity in schools that have long biased whites and Asians.
While raw academic rank was once the primary determinant of entry, standards have become much more elastic.
Bauernebel argued that his child’s efforts in the classroom should have offered him a place in a school that meets his academic needs.
“I don’t have money for a private school,” he says. “If we can’t provide decent public school education for New York’s middle class, what is the way forward? “
Parents at IS 276 were so upset by their high school internships that they organized an emergency meeting with school officials last week.
But the DOE pointed out on Wednesday that 97% of all high school applicants were offered a place in one of their chosen schools. Each family can list up to 12.
“We want all of our families to celebrate the milestone of transitioning to high school, and the vast majority of students have received an offer for one of the schools they have applied to,” spokesperson Katie O said. ‘Hanlon. “Whenever possible, we always work with any family who prefers a different choice and they have a wide range of opportunities to explore high school options after the offers come out. “