Ben Chapman, Daily News, September 7, 2018
An all-Black parent activist group came out swinging against Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plan to desegregate the city’s elite specialized high schools, saying he has inadvertently provoked animosity between communities of color with an ill-considered program.
Parenting While Black, a grassroots organization based in Brooklyn, sent a letter to de Blasio Wednesday that calls for a meeting to discuss his plan to overhaul admissions to the group of world-famous high schools, including Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant High School, that enroll just a trickle of black and Hispanic kids.
The group, which has about 50 members, says de Blasio has created tension between the black community and Asian families, who account for the majority of admissions to the sought-after schools with the proposal that would reduce Asian enrollment.
Parenting While Black founding member and Brooklyn mom Mutale Nkonde accused de Blasio of creating a “smokescreen” with the proposal that seeks to replace the test used for admissions to the schools, with a program to enroll top middle school kids from across the city.
“The test is a symptom of widespread inequity,” Nkonde said. “Changing the test, without dismantling the barriers to achieving academic excellence black and brown children face, will be ineffective.”
The Parenting While Black letter to de Blasio was endorsed by Brooklyn Community Education Council for District 16, which encompasses Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Council President NeQuan McLean said black and Hispanic kids’ relatively poor scores on the test used for admissions to elite schools reflects the poor quality of middle and elementary schools in their neighborhoods.
David Lee, education chairman of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, said that many the city’s Asian community were wary of animosity stirred up by de Blasio’s plan.