Posted on February 3, 2022 at 7:01 p.m. by West Side Rag
By Dena Twain
District 3 parents are unhappy with the choices available to them as they face the March 1 deadline for New York City Department of Education (DOE) high school applications .
The Zone 3 School District Community Education Council (CEC3) met Wednesday night to answer questions from community members about the high school admissions process at DOE schools.
Sharon Collins, member of CEC3, and Lucas Liu, its chair, chaired the meeting while explaining to members what they can expect in the upcoming bidding season.
The deadline for applying to secondary schools is March 1. Families can apply for up to 12 options but will only receive one letter of offer.
Although there are over 700 programs to choose from, some parents said they felt their options were limited.
“The pool of screening schools is too big,” complained one parent, referring to the highly competitive schools like Stuyvesant and Hunter that screen potential candidates. “There are too few places. There are absolutely not enough traditional high school options with rigorous academics and comprehensive experience.
Parents were also concerned about the small number of open seats at “audition-based” high schools in the district, such as Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music and Arts and Performing Arts.
Other D3 high schools, which span the West Side from 59th Street to 122nd Street, include Frank McCourt High School, Special Music High School, and Urban Assembly School for Media Studies. Students can apply to schools across the city.
Parents’ frustrations at Wednesday’s meeting were exacerbated by the impending deadline for submitting nominations.
“Can we mention to the DOE that March 1 is too soon? Telling us at the last minute is not helpful. said mother Kate Marshall, referring to the fact that the DOE did not release the first information about the applications until January 24.Timing is tight for kids to write essays. They should give the kids that extra weekend after February vacation. another parent suggested. Unfortunately, Ms Collins replied that she does not anticipate leniency here.
A parent complainsd that many offers of acceptance are ignored [by recipients], creating blockages and preventing waiting lists from moving. She also wanted to be able to more easily find suitable relief schools for their children. “I know many students last year who weren’t matched to any of their 12 programs,” said parent Luna Diman. “Is there a way to find out the lottery number so we can get an idea of placement priority?”
Others worry that parents whose children aren’t matched with a well-performing school are choosing to leave town. “Is the DOE concerned that middle-class families who cannot afford a private school will feel pressured to leave New York to send their child to a school with an (n) academic level with which they are at comfortable? one parent wrote. Collins said it was an issue she had heard of before and was also being discussed in other districts, and urged parents to raise their concerns so the CEC can take them to the DOE.
The meeting ended with a reminder that CEC3 will hold its Chancellors Town Hall on March 23. Collins and Liu hope this will be seen as an opportunity to hear from new NYC-DOE Chancellor David Banks — and a possible forum for more change.