Parents Sue City Over Mayor De Blasio's Plan To Diversify Elite Schools

December 14, 2018 - 8:29 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The city is facing a lawsuit over its proposal to change the admission process at its elite high schools.

The federal lawsuit claims the mayor’s diversity plan for the city’s eight specialized schools pits one minority against another.

“It is racial discrimination, and it is discrimination against hard-working Asian Americans,” said Yi Fang Chen, one of the parent plaintiffs.

Chen is a child of poor Asian immigrants who went on to study at Stanford University.

The other plaintiffs include parents at the predominantly Asian Christa McAuliffe School in Brooklyn.

Of the 300 eighth graders at the school last year, 200 went on to one of the city’s specialized high schools.

As an end-run around the state legislature, which is likely to scrap the exam, Mayor Bill de Blasio is changing the city’s Discovery Program and reserving 20 percent of the specialized high school seats for students in high poverty schools who just missed the exam cutoff.

Blacks and Hispanics make up 70 percent of the overall school population, but just 9 percent of the specialized high school body.

The plaintiffs are being represented by the senior attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, Joshua Thompson.

“Proposed changes to the Discovery Program are made with an intent to discriminate against Asian American students,” Thompson said. “It is made for the purpose of racially balancing the specialized schools.”

A Department of Education spokesman counters that the city’s schools are academically stronger when they reflect the diversity of the city.