City official discusses eliminating specialized admission tests in NYC

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Assemblyman William Colton of the 47th district in Brooklyn met with community members Saturday to discuss the potential change in specialized high school testing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with the support of Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, has proposed to eliminate the Specialized High School Admissions Test and change criteria for admissions into specialized high schools in New York City as part of an effort to improve diversity.

The SHSAT has existed since the '70s and is administered to eighth and ninth grade students to determine admission to all but one of New York City's nine specialized high schools.

Significant public backlash has mounted against the proposal, with some saying arguing that merit alone should determine admission into these schools and that the test has proven effective in the past.

"It's a very simple merit-based system," said parent, Amy Chan. "You study hard, you pass the test, then you're in."

Assemblyman Colton says eliminating the SHSAT should not be the solution.

"Start providing quality education in every neighborhood so that every neighborhood will have its brightest children be able to pass that SHSAT," he said.

Other elected officials also say they believe the Department of Education should take responsibility for preparing all students for the exam by the time they reach high school.

The proposal to eliminate the SHSAT has since been blocked, but could return for a vote in the future.

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