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De Blasio signals new approach on specialized high school test


Mayor de Blasio is going back to the drawing board on his controversial proposal to scrap the admissions test to the city’s elite specialized high schools.

During a round table discussion at City Hall Wednesday, de Blasio said his plan, “didn’t work, it didn’t get passed."

“I don’t think you can truly change things by keeping the same test in place,” de Blasio said. “But some would argue there’s a way to do it while keeping the test, and we have to have that dialogue too.”

“We’re going to start over, listen to everyone,” he added.

Black and Hispanic kids make up 70 % of the city student body, but got only 10% of the admissions offers to the city’s eight specialized high schools this year.

State law enshrines the single high stakes exam as the sole criterion for admissions at Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, and Bronx Science. The city has five newer specialized high schools as well, but de Blasio has argued he can’t change admissions at those schools either without state approval.

The mayor’s proposal provoked a heated backlash. Many Asian-American families said the plan, which proposed using middle school grades rather than the test to decide admission, would unfairly target Asian students, who make up the largest group at the specialized high schools.

The plan also spurred aggressive lobbying efforts in Albany.

De Blasio’s comments Wednesday were the first indication he would be open to a plan that keeps the test in place.

“There has to be something better than this,” he said. “But it has to be something we can reach consensus on.”