Sen. John C. Liu (NY-D) has called on New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) to remove the city’s high school lottery-based admissions process and return to a system that “values diligence and achievement.”
In his letter addressed to DOE Chancellor David Banks on Friday, Liu requested that the DOE return to its previous admissions process that considered academic performance for students, calling the current lottery-based process “unpopular and ineffective.”
“The high school admissions process has been rife with uncertainty and confusion under the current system causing outrage during an already stressful time in families’ lives,” Liu said in a press release on Monday.
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“The DOE must abandon this lottery as a relic of the pandemic, and reinstate an admissions system that values diligence and achievement,” he continued.
In his letter to Banks, the first Taiwan-born elected state senator in New York noted that the uncertainty ingrained in the city’s lottery-based admission process has driven many families out of the public school system and into private or parochial schools. According to Liu, some families have even opted to move out of New York.
“Many AAPI families in particular have voiced concerns that the city’s lottery system further marginalized our too often overlooked community in which one in four adults live in poverty,” Liu wrote to Banks. “DOE statistics show Asian students fared the worst in the city with only 70 percent securing one of their top five high school picks.”
The DOE’s Fall 2022 Admissions Outcomes report revealed that Asian students were less likely to be admitted into one of their top five choices for high school in New York due to the lottery-based system. Around 70% of Asian applicants managed to get into one of their preferred choices, as compared to 89% of Latinx applicants and 90% of Black applicants.
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no reason to continue the admissions lottery, especially given the resounding failure of last cycle’s random admissions process,” Liu concluded in his letter.