NYC parents frustrated over changes to high school ranking process

This week, New York City eighth graders found out which high schools they placed into, but for some, it was nothing close to what they were expecting.

"If I'm being totally honest, it was a moment of panic— of what the heck are we going to do," says parent Lauren Antonucci. 

In the New York City public school system, parents and students rank a dozen schools, and usually, they get one of their top choices. But Antonucci’s son did not get any of his 12 picks. She says the news hit her like a brick wall. 

"I had half an hour in my office by myself to try to process it before my son started texting and calling," Antonucci said.

And she does not appear to be alone, as a recent article in the New York Post would suggest. 

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The Department of Education’s high school ranking process is a bit different this year. Due to the pandemic, neither test scores nor attendance would be used as criteria. The DOE would instead use grades from years 7 and 8.

Another change: individual schools are no longer ranking students. It’s now all done at the DOE.

But these changes are actually a small step in the right direction, says Nyah Berg with New York Appleseed, which advocates for integrated schools.

"Equity can sometimes feel like oppression when you have felt privilege before in those areas," Berg says.

To any parents reading this that think the system was better before, Berg says it wasn’t.

"In all reality, it was not working, and it wasn't working for our most marginalized students," Berg says. " And so these are improvements that we need. But these anecdotal stories are also proof that there are a lot more changes that need to happen."

Lauren Antonucci says there has to be a way to fix those problems while also still letting students have a choice.

"I know that's hard, but there has to be a way to then stratify and say, ‘Okay, so we can see who performs how,’l she says.

"This system just seems pretty crazy.

Fox5 reached out to the Department or Education for a comment on the situation but has not heard back.