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Schools chief, adviser for lobbyist lock horns over controversial plan to scrap entrance exam for specialized high schools


The city’s testiest education debate is heating up.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and civil rights activist Kirsten John Foy took out the knives in the latest war of words over plans to scrap the traditional entrance test for New York City’s eight elite high schools.

On Tuesday night, Carranza derided the Education Equity campaign — for which Foy serves as top adviser — as a deep pocketed lobbying effort to shut down the city’s test plans funded by cosmetics heir billionaire Ronald Lauder and former CitiGroup chairman Richard Parsons.

“The only people that have engaged against this has been millionaires,” Carranza told a group of parents, according to Politico.

Foy, whose campaign reportedly spent almost a million dollars in glitzy ads and lobbying efforts last year in a largely successful campaign to stall the city’s test plans, punched back Wednesday morning.

The “people who have been pushing a real reform plan from education equity have been working class parents, educators, activists and everyday New Yorkers who know more about being working class New Yorkers than this chancellor ever could," his statement said.

The city’s specialized high schools, which enroll shares of white and Asian students far above the city average, have been the focus of heated scrutiny in recent months. Mayor de Blasio and Carranza have floated plans to use metrics other than the Specialized High School Admissions test, including middle school grades, to determine admission to the schools.

But the test is enshrined in state law – at least for Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science High Schools. De Blasio admitted in September his Albany efforts were dead in the water, and signaled he’d consider a new approach – conceding he hadn’t adequately consulted parents before rolling out his original plan.