Chancellor Banks leaves admission criteria unchanged, parents express dissatisfaction

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Schools Chancellor David Banks has decided not to change the high school admissions process for next year.

This has angered those who call it a glorified lottery and pleasing groups who back more diversity in competitive schools.

Under the current system, all kids with grade averages of 85 and higher will enter a top tier of applicants.

The Department of Education (DOE) said 60 percent of applicants will hit that mark and then be at the mercy of a mere lottery. Other parent groups have argued that more will qualify.

That approach, they contend, renders top grades irrelevant.

Under intense pressure from all sides, Banks hinted at a possible alteration in recent days. The new schools chief has stressed that the system was devised before he took office and that he recognized why some were opposed.

But with applications due Friday, Banks opted not to disturb what has become an increasingly fractious status quo.

Department of Education models found that the admissions process for next year will boost black and Hispanic enrollment by 13 percent.

“We are happy that Chancellor Banks took into account that families of students already made decisions based on the admissions criteria given,” said Kaliris Salas of Community Education Council 4. “He was not persuaded to change it last minute based on a meritocracy that doesn’t exist in our public schools.”

Banks was besieged in recent weeks by frustrated parents who said their kids earned top grades — but got lottery numbers that made their placement at a strong school nearly impossible.

Many of those families said they planned to exit the DOE — and perhaps the city — if the admissions framework did not change at the last minute.

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