For the first time, every New York City junior will have the chance Wednesday to take the SAT for free during the regular school day.
Typically, the SAT costs $45 and the test is administered on a Saturday at sites across the city — all of which can present barriers for students who lack internet access to register, can’t pay for transportation to the testing site or have other obligations, such as work, on weekends.
The effort is part of the city’s College Access for All initiative, which aims to clear a path to college starting in middle school. Mayor Bill de Blasio, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and City Councilman Daniel Dromm, who chairs the Council’s education committee, touted the free test day on Monday at Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City.
“For a long time, a lot of kids were told they don’t have a chance to go to college, and that was so often wrong,” de Blasio told a group of juniors. “We’re sending the opposite message now: Anyone who wants to go to college has a chance to make it.”
Fariña told students about her own difficulties signing up for the exam as the first in her family to go to college. She didn’t register until a teacher encouraged her to, and paying for the test proved difficult since her parents didn’t have a checking account.
“I did not even know what an SAT exam was,” she said. “For all of you this is an opportunity to start thinking college.”
The city first began offering the SAT for free at 40 pilot schools in spring 2015. It grew last year to 91 high schools and now the test will be offered to any of the city’s 70,000 juniors who chooses to participate.
Also Wednesday, sophomores can take the PSAT — which helps student prepare for the SAT and is used to determine eligibility for a National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT has been offered in schools since 2007, according to the city.
Future of Schools
These 29 Indianapolis administrators could lose their jobs
Indianapolis Public Schools has identified dozens of principals, deans and other administrators who could lose their jobs at the end of the year, many because of the decision to close high schools.
As the district pursues plans to close three of its seven high schools, the superintendent recommended that the board cancel the contracts of 29 administrators effective July 1.
The list of administrators includes two high school principals and several assistant principals and deans whose contracts could be canceled because of the high school closing plan. Several high school athletic directors could also have their contracts canceled because the district is changing the job description and requirements for those positions, according to IPS spokesperson Carrie Cline Black.
They were all invited to apply to other open positions in the district, but the district is canceling their contracts because state law requires districts to notify certain administrators by March 1 if their contracts will not be renewed, according to Black.
The recommendation, which is included in the district’s monthly personnel report, is not entirely surprising, since the district anticipated having fewer administrators once it consolidates campuses. But the district had not previously revealed which staff members could lose their positions.
This is just the latest sign of the upheaval caused by the high school closings. Hundreds of high school teachers were required to reapply for their jobs, and students were required to select new high school programs for next year.
Here is the full list of staffers the superintendent recommended canceling contracts for:
Arlington High School
- Debra Barlowe, dean
- Arthur Dumas, dean
- David Tuttle, assistant principal
- Debra Ward, assistant principal
- Danny Wilson, athletic director
Arsenal Technical High School
- Anne Deckard, dean
- Sheldon Floyd, assistant principal
- Steven Glenn, dean
- Thomas Starnes, athletic director
- Roslyn Stradford, assistant principal
- Lisa Williams, dean
Broad Ripple High School
- John Edge, assistant principal
- Robert Moses, interim assistant principal
- Rachel Norwood, magnet coordinator
- Vickie Winslow, dean
Crispus Attucks High School
- Kenneth Roseman, athletic director
- Joshua Varno, athletic director
George Washington High School
- Emily Butler, principal
- Zachary Ervin, dean
- Patrick Kennison, assistant principal
- Charonda Woods, assistant principal
Northwest Community High School
- Moshfilay Anderson, athletic director
- Eileen Bell, assistant principal
- Michelle Brittain-Watts, principal
- Martha Lince, dean
- Alan Smith, assistant principal
- Albert Young, dean
Positive Supports Academy
Shortridge High School
- Kathy Langdon, athletic director
Reaction was swift and strong last week when Chalkbeat reported that Detroit’s main school district is changing the way students are admitted to Cass Technical High School, Renaissance High School and two other selective schools.
Some parents, teachers, students and members of the schools’ devoted alumni associations praised the district’s decision to reduce the role of testing in admissions decisions. But others expressed anger and concern about how the changes will affect the schools and how decisions about the changes were made.
Instead of basing admissions decisions primarily on the results of a single exam, the district will this year turn the process over to an admissions team comprised of teachers and staff from the schools, as well as administrators in the district’s central office. They will use a score card to decide admissions with just 40 percent of a student’s score coming from the high school placement exam. The rest of the points will come from grades, essays and letters of recommendations. Students currently enrolled in the district will get 10 bonus points that will give them an edge over students applying from charter and suburban schools.
The news turned into one of the most talked about stories on our site this year — and readers’ reactions ran the gamut. Read some of what our readers had to say below.
Some thought the change was problematic:
Others applauded the changes:
A current Cass Tech teacher said she agreed the admissions process needed to change, but was concerned that the district did not ask for her input on the new system:
How do you feel about the new admissions process? Tell us below in the comments or weigh on on Facebook or Twitter.