Dromm Supports De Blasio Plan For More Diversity At Specialized High Schools

    City Council Member Daniel Dromm

    City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday lauded Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new plan to make admissions to New York City’s eight testing Specialized High Schools (SPH) fairer and improve diversity.

    Only 10 percent of specialized high school students are Black or Latino, despite making up 70 percent of the City’s overall student population. The two-part plan includes:

    • Expanding Discovery program to help more disadvantage students receive an offer: The Discovery program is designed to increase enrollment of low-income students at Specialized High Schools. The plan will immediately expand the program to 20 percent of seats at each SHS and adjust the eligibility criteria to target students attending high-poverty schools. This would be a two-year expansion, beginning with admissions for September 2019. Based on modeling of current offer patterns, an estimated 16 percent of offers would go to black and Latino students, compared to 9 percent currently.
    • Eliminating the use of the single-admissions test over three years: The elimination of the Specialized High Schools Admissions test would require State legislation. By the end of the elimination, the SHS would reserve seats for top performers at each New York City middle school. When the law is passed, the test would be phased out over a three-year period. Based on modeling of current offer patterns, 45 percent of offers would go to black and Latino students, compared to 9 percent currently; 62 percent of offers would go to female students, compared to 44 percent currently; and four times more offers would go to Bronx residents.

    “Creating more diverse schools is vitally important to the success of every NYC public school student,” said Dromm, who chaired the city’s Education Committee under the previous city council. “Everyone benefits from diversity. In December, 2014 when I chaired the Education Committee, I held a hearing on this very issue to urge the state to act. That didn’t happen which is why I am very pleased to see Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education move forward on integrating our schools on many different levels. The time is now to fix the specialized schools diversity problem.”


    Peralta Hails LeFrak City Polling Site Decision

    State Senator Jose Peralta

    State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) on Friday hailed the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) decision to keep three of the LeFrak City’s five polling places in the complex while housing the other two at the housing complex’s Queens Library branch.

    The decision comes 10 months after the BOE announced it would be relocating the polling places, which angered tenants and sparked litigation.

    The change takes effect immediately, and both polling places will be operational for the June 26 congressional Democratic primary between Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) and challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    “When Democracy wins, we all win, and LeFrak City residents won the critical fight to keep their polling site at the LeFrak City complex. I am glad that LeFrak City residents will be able to vote where they have been voting for decades. Attempts to move the polling site were illogical, and I am happy to see that voters will be able to exercise their right to vote without interference,” said Peralta.

    “Even a Supreme Court judge ruled that the relocation of the polling site was ‘irrational and arbitrary’. Simply put, this was an attack on LeFrak City residents. It is my hope that efforts to relocate the polling sites are a thing of the past and it does not become a recurrent issue. I have been working for months with the LeFrak City Tenants Association and several elected officials, including Congressman Joseph Crowley, to ensure the polling site was not relocated. For now, at least, that will be the case, but we will keep an eye on any possible future efforts to make it difficult for people to head to the polls,” he added.


    Crowley Decries Trump Immigration Policy As Immigrant Heritage Month Begins

    U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley

    U.S. Rep. and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College PointEast ElmhurstJackson Heights, Corona, Woodside and parts of the Bronx) last week decried President Donald Trump’s immigration policies in his statement on Immigrant Heritage Month, which is celebrated annually during the month of June.

    “During Immigrant Heritage Month, we join together to celebrate our rich history as a nation of immigrants, as well as pay tribute to the contributions immigrant communities have made to the United States,” said Crowley.

    “But as we celebrate our heritage, we must also acknowledge the many challenges immigrants face in our country. President Trump’s administration continues to demonize immigrants and promote an anti-immigrant agenda. In Congress, Republican leaders are refusing to bring forward the DREAM Act, despite bipartisan support for providing security to these young men and women who call America home. And at the border, even families seeking asylum are being torn apart.

    “As the son and grandson of immigrants, I know how crucial it is to protect and live up to our country’s proud tradition of welcoming immigrants. As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding our nation’s values and working to make our immigration system more just and fair to those in pursuit of a better life in America.”

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