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The broken promises of choice in NYC schools

May 8, 2017
The New York Times /

The city’s high school admissions process was supposed to give every student a real chance to attend a good school. But 14 years in, it has not delivered.

It was a warm Sunday morning, the breeze sweeping aside the last wisps of summer, and 31 students from Pelham Gardens Middle School in the Bronx had signed up to spend the day indoors, at a showcase for New York City’s public high schools. The annual fair kicks off the city’s high school application season in September, and Jayda Walker, 13, arrived with a plan.

An eager young woman with an easy smile, Jayda wants to be a divorce lawyer, and at the fair, held at Brooklyn Technical High School, she planned to focus on schools with a legal theme, located in Manhattan. She had already looked through the high school directory, an intimidating tome the size of an old-fashioned phone book, and thought Manhattan offered more variety. Besides, she said, she wanted to get out of the Bronx.