398 petitions

Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Carl Heastie, Catherine Nolan, Carmen Arroyo, Jacob C. Ashby, Michael Benedetto, Anthony Brindisi, Steven Englebright, Earlene Hooper, Alicia Hyndman, Ellen Jaffee, Ron Kim, Peter A. Lawrence, Barbara Lifton, William Magnarelli, David McDonough, John Mikulin, Melissa L. Miller, Michael Miller, Walter Mosley, Dean Murray, Daniel O'Donnell, Steven Otis, Amy Paulin, Christine Pellegrino, Edward Ra, Phil Ramos, Linda Rosenthal, Sean Ryan, Rebecca A. Seawright, Michele Titus, Mary Beth Walsh, Michael Blake, Maritza Davila, Michael Montesano, N. Nick Perry, Jo Anne Simon, Phil Steck, Victor Pichardo, Vivian Cook, William Colton, Al Taylor, Vivian Cook, Jose Rivera, J Gary Pretlow, Carmen De La Rosa, Inez E. Dickens, Clyde Vanel, Rodneyse Bichotte, Latoya Joyner, Michaelle Solages, Carrie Woerner, Fred Thiele Jr., Joe Errigo, Aridia Espinal, David Weprin, Peter Abbate Jr., Jeffrey Dinowitz

Keep SHSAT as the sole specialized high school admissions criterion

Background: The mayor and several local politicians have advocated for changes to the admissions criteria for eight specialized high schools in New York City.  The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) has always been the sole criteria for admission to these elite schools for students of every color.  Because of their scores on this test, presently, thousands of underserved minority Asian students have been able to obtain a quality education that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Politicians are proposing to scrap the SHSAT in order to increase diversity in these specialized high schools.  The Independent Budget Office estimates at approximately 1450, or nearly half, of Asian students will be displaced. Despite 10,000 signatures on a petition to preserve the SHSAT, new Bills (Assembly Bill A2173) to change the admission requirements away from the SHSAT have once again been proposed.  Proponents of abolishing the objective and unbiased SHSAT claim that the SHSAT is an unfair measure of achievement because it favors only those who can afford test preparation, and thus limits the opportunity for a high-quality education for those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. This claim, however, is unsubstantiated because between 34% to 61% of the current student body in these specialized high schools are eligible for free lunch ($35K annual income for a family of four) and more than three-quarters of the student body at Stuyvesant (one of the specialized schools) are either first- or second-generation immigrants where English isn’t their first language.  Several politicians argue even the best college in the nation use multiple criteria for admissions.  However, the median household income for Harvard undergrads is $168K and for Brown undergrads is $204K.  Is that the kind of socioeconomic diversity we are looking for in New York City’s public high schools? Furthermore the SHSAT has been validated by a formal study sponsored by the DOE but kept secret for 5 years. The under representation of Black and Latino students in specialized high schools is unacceptable, however, changing the admission requirements away from the SHSAT does not address the crisis in k-8 education in low income Black and Hispanic communities. Changing the SHSAT will only hurt low-income families as a whole and disadvantage the poorest ethnic group in New York city.  Thus, we urge Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie and members of the New York State Assembly Education Committee (chaired by Michael Benedetto) to keep the SHSAT as the sole admission criterion for these politically under-represented who have worked hard for admission into these schools.  Taking away education opportunities from one disadvantaged minority group to serve another minority group is not the solution!

28,581 supporters
Update posted 4 weeks ago

Petition to Tina Calderone, Karen Almond, Kristine Kraus, Amy Pennock, Abby Sanchez

Revise Unfair Disciplinary Policies at Teague Middle School

It is unfair to automatically punish students with a one-hour detention for forgetting their student ID. The policy should be revised to allow teachers and administrators to issue verbal warnings or written warnings requiring parent signature instead of detentions to non-habitual violators. Thursday, November 12, I received a call from someone at Teague Middle School informing me our son was being given a one-hour after school detention. He did not harm anyone. He did not damage any property. He did not disrupt any class time or interfere with other students' learning. In fact, he is very well-behaved, a good kid and a good student. They are punishing him for simply forgetting his school ID. I understand and agree with the reasons for having students wear IDs, but since not having an ID doesn't hurt anyone, damage anything, or disrupt learning it does not merit the kind of punishment those things do, if any. Especially since the school has all of the ID info on computers they can easily and quickly print out a temporary ID for students who forget theirs. Since I did not receive a call back from Dean of Students Kelvin Ferrell in a timely manner, I drove to the school to speak with him and Assistant Principal Cynthia Woods about this. I tried to explain why the detention was unfair, but Ass. Principal Woods repeatedly and rudely interrupted me with the excuse "it's their policy," then proclaimed the meeting over and left in a huff when I told her I was still talking and she needed to be be quiet and listen. Dean Ferrell was amicable but equally unhelpful. After numerous calls to her secretary, Principal Debra Abbot finally called back today but was equally unhelpful. She refused to cancel the detention citing the same policy excuse and assured me they would be issuing detentions to every child that forgets theirs. I've spoken with other parents and teachers about this, all of whom agree the punishment is excessive and I would imagine many of you feel the same. I may not be able to get my son's detention cancelled in time, but with enough social pressure, and maybe even media attention, we might be able to bring these petty bureaucrats to heel and prevent your children from also being punished unfairly. Tell me, do you feel it is highly unfair for the school to punish your child with a one-hour after school detention for simply forgetting their ID? Consider this also causes problems for parents of children who are bus riders who may be forced to lose time at work or make alternate transportation arrangements, and can also interfere with many after-school activities. Please sign this petition to the Seminole County Public Schools School Board to get the policy changed, and please share this on social media and with other parents of SCPS students.If you are part of or know someone in the news media or independent media (bloggers, vloggers, etc.) who would be interested in this topic please share this with them as well.Let's remind these people who they work for."You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing." – Thomas Sowell

Drew Baye
170 supporters