New York City parents and activists filed a federal lawsuit with the Office of Civil Rights on Monday, claiming that the city’s high school admissions process discriminates against black and Hispanic students by storing them away in low performing schools and setting them up for failure. They demanded a federal investigation and an overhaul of the admissions system.
Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said that Mayor Bloomberg’s administration inherited a system where zip code once determined a student’s quality of education. Since his first day in office, eliminating the achievement gap is a reform Bloomberg’s administration has championed. Admission to top performing schools is instead based on academic records, test scores, attendance, student preference and other factors.
However, Education Law Center attorney Wendy Lecker, who originally filed the complaint, says the selection process is racist.
“The city is sending African-American and Latino students to schools where they are much less likely to earn a diploma,” Lecker said. “We want new policies to give all students a fair shot.”