One of the city’s top high schools has introduced a lottery element to its admissions process as part of a DOE pilot program that critics say could punish top applicants, The Post has learned.
Applicants from Townsend Harris HS with an overall score between 91–100 will be placed at a top level of all candidates and then randomly selected for admission.
With the Coronovirus dropping out with many traditional academic matrices, the Flushing School is using prior grades and state test scores to produce overall numbers.
Critics argued that the new system is a dilution of one of the most competitive academic admissions processes in the city.
A current parent said, “It puts a student who falls into the group of 91 as the same child who turns 99.” “So you are going to parents who are disappointed that their children are putting in that extra work and effort to get the top score and it is not being recognized.”
Another parent agreed.
“It has always been a school for the city’s most advanced academic children,” she said. “Perfectionist.” There should be a place for those children. “
But critics of the city’s various educational screening systems argue that they benefit families of the means and create sharp racial inequality at the city’s top schools.
Townsend Harris is 55 percent Asian, 19 percent White, 11 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent African-American.
The school will also continue to reserve half the seats for children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
In a video explaining the changes, Townsend Harris Administrator Veronica York said she preserved the rigorous admissions program while expanding opportunities.
“We want to have equal access to the whole bucket,” she said, referring to those in the first tier. “Then they will all be in one place and accepted through the lottery.”
Townsend chief Brian Condon also supported the change in a statement.
“We are proud of these entry changes that were driven by the community and live up to Townsend Harris’ mission of promoting educational excellence while expanding use and opportunity for all,” he said. “The strength of our school community lies in our values and we know that this new way of identifying future scholars will form the important steps we have already taken to ensure equity.”
The school said that some children who are not at the top level will also be considered for admission.
US News and World Report ranked Townsend Harris as New York’s best high school last year – beating top specialty high schools such as Stuyvesant and Bronx Science.
The outlet declared it the fifth best public high school in the country.