De Blasio’s meddling with elite-high-school admissions is hurting the very kids it claims to help


Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza are already moving ahead with part of their drive to racially re-engineer the city’s top high schools — at great risk to the kids they claim to be helping.

What they’ve done is reshape the decades-old Discovery program in such a way as to greatly increase the chances that it’ll send students to schools where they’re just not ready to do the work.

Since 1971, Discovery has allowed disadvantaged teens who score just under the admissions cutoff on the Specialized High School Admission Test to take summer classes that prepare them for the rigorous college-level coursework of these high schools. Those who completed the program won admission via slots the schools had set aside for Discovery.

This allowed, for example, a low-income student who didn’t quite score enough to make it into Stuyvesant (but did get an offer from, say, Brooklyn Tech) to still earn his or her place into the school widely seen as the “top of the top.”

As Larry Cary of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation notes, Discovery was a significant factor in the school becoming majority black and Hispanic from the mid-’70s through the mid-’90s.

Why mess with it now? Well, to be fair, Team de Blasio isn’t the first to meddle. A change two decades back made it so that any school opting to take Discovery kids couldn’t “poach” from those admitted to other “elites.” That meant Stuyvesant would have had to admit kids who’d scored even further below its cutoff, so the principal at the time regretfully withdrew from Discovery, and Bronx Science limited its participation.

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