Two Brooklyn lawmakers sent a letter to Chancellor Richard Carranza asking the schools’ head to consider opening a Specialized High School in Southern Brooklyn. They have the perfect location – the building of Bishop Kearney’s High School (2202 60th Street) that is closing on August 31st for good.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Council Member Justin Brannan urged Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza to use this opportunity to increase access and reduce overcrowding for students in Districts 20, 21 and 22. Each year the three districts account about a quarter of the enrolled student body at specialized high schools, and three-quarters of students from Brooklyn that attend specialized high schools.
In 2019, only 4,798 out of 27,521 applicants – 17%- to specialized high schools were offered admission, with a large racial variation. Admissions test – SHSAT – has been under fire by Chancellor Carranza as not a good enough measure of students capabilities, and changes to SHSAT proposed by Mayor de Blasio would disproportionately affect Southern Brooklyn students, understandably frustrating their parents.
“Every family deserves a world-class education for their child. By expanding the number of seats in specialized schools, we can grow the pie rather than arguing over how to slice it,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes in a statement. “In southern Brooklyn, we have a large number of high-achieving students who would greatly benefit from attending school closer to home. And by dramatically increasing the number of seats Citywide, we will extend educational opportunities to many more New York City children.”
“Nobody wanted to see Bishop Kearney close but this is one way we can turn lemons into lemonade. We know our local school districts are going to continue producing some of the highest achieving students in the city. Why not give these smart and eager 8th graders an expanded choice of specialized high schools right here in southern Brooklyn and, in the process, create more opportunities for everyone – colloquially known as a win-win,” asks Council Member Justin Brannan.
Department of Education spokesperson Isabelle Boundy said that the Department will review the letter and “we’ll continue to work with our communities to ensure families across the City have high-quality high school options.” DOE already leases space at the building for Brooklyn’s Daily Discovery Pre-K Center serving about a hundred students.