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Mayor Bill de Blasio admits mistake in not reaching out to Asian American leaders in his battle to diversify NY specialized high schools

The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has gotten some backlash for his plans to diversify the top public high schools in New York. He said that the nine elite specialized high schools in New York City practiced “massive segregation” which has left black and Latino kids behind. Last year, Asian Americans won 51.7 percent of the seats, while whites got 28.5 percent, Latinos got 6.6 percent, and blacks won 4 percent, reports the NY Post. The spots to the top public high schools are given out based on one exam. The top test scores win a seat at the nine specialized high schools. But Bill de Blasio wanted to get rid of the test in favor of admitting the top 7 percent of teenagers at every middle school. This would theoretically get more black and Latino teenagers into the top high schools.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio purposed this plan, he was met with backlash regarding the plan. By implementing his plan to diversify the schools, Asian students would lose out on some of the seats. Some Asian American’s disliked this idea because they believed that the entrance exam was race-blind and that de Blasio did not meet with Asian leaders to discuss the issue.

New York State Senator John Liu was one of the leaders who called out de Blasio for keeping out Asian Americans in the process. “There was a deliberate exclusion of an entire community,” Liu said in a hearing, reported by the New York Post. “So nobody should be surprised that many in that community that was excluded are completely offended by the plan that was put forth.”

Feeling the heat of the Asian community, Mayor Bill de Blasio, admitted his mistake in failing to reach out to the Asian community. “I have to say, I wish I had done it better and I want to have a dialogue with Asian community leaders because we want to make sure kids from the community do well, obviously,” he said in press conference in Queens, reported by the New York Post.

He recognized that the issue was divisive, but he said that his intentions were in good faith. “Look, when we looked out the vision on specialized high schools, it was by no means trying to create a negative or divisive situation,” he said. “That was not the intention. It was to address what we saw as a historic injustice.”

It is unknown at this time what is going to happen to the entrance exams, but for John Liu, who chair’s the Senate’s New York City Education¬†Committee, changing the admissions process is a “nonstarter.”

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