New York

Rise & Shine: Brush up your SHSAT–testing for New York City’s specialized high schools begins

The weather is suddenly cooler, the days shorter, which means it’s SHSAT time again. This weekend is the first opportunity that eighth graders have this fall to take the test, which the city’s specialized high schools use for admissions. With testing season upon us, debate continues over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to change the admissions process to make the pool of accepted students more diverse.

According to city data, a small percentage of students with low test scores could end up winning admission to the sought-after schools under the mayor’s proposed changes. And staffers from the city's department of education met a hostile reception when they presented the mayor's proposal to a Community Education Council meeting in Brooklyn.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued its own proposed rule change to make it tougher for immigrants who rely on public benefits, such as food stamps or Medicaid, to qualify for green cards. If the rule change is approved, the city’s school-based health clinics could take a hit, as to pay for a portion of their services, they rely on eligible students qualifying for such aid.

Are you a parent with a child preparing to take the SHSAT this weekend? Or a teacher with students you think the SHSAT is serving well--or not? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the test or what the eighth graders you know think about it or are doing to prepare. Write us at with SHSAT in the subject line.

--Sara, New York bureau chief


COLLATERAL DAMAGE School-based health clinics that partially rely on reimbursements from Medicaid could suffer if a new federal proposal is adopted that would make it tougher for immigrants who rely on public benefits to successfully seek green cards. Chalkbeat

FROSTY At a Brooklyn Community Education Council meeting, staffers from the city’s department of education encountered a chilly response to their presentation on the mayor’s plan to increase student diversity at the city’s specialized high schools by changing the admissions process. New York Post

GETTING BY According to city data, a proposal to change the admissions criteria for the city’s specialized high schools could lead to a small percentage of students with markedly lower state test scores being accepted into the academically competitive schools. The Wall Street Journal

DAY IN THE LIFE A group of journalists followed teachers from around the country to report on the hardships, disrespect, and occasional joys teachers experience on a typical day. USA Today

CHURN Although teacher turnover in New York State and among first-year teachers in the city is down, these statistics mask higher attrition rates in some city neighborhoods that the new teachers contract is hoping to combat. City Limits

DIAPER GENIE The New York City Council passed a law that requires centers that serve women and very young children, including some overseen by the department of education, to provide diapers and wipes free of charge. Catholic News Agency

NO THANKS Some city students are foregoing college and its burdening debt by entering blue-collar trades that pay high wages immediately. Vice

BIG SPENDERS Governor Cuomo, the state Democratic Party and a PAC tied to the New York State United Teachers union are spending heavily to try to win control of the state legislature in November’s election. WSKG

FALSE ALARM A Manhattan high school was briefly on lockdown Thursday after reports of a gun in the the building. The New York Post

OPINION A middle-class black parent, arguing “the stakes are higher for black kids,” explains why she is opting out of the ‘neighborhood school experiment’ for her son–at least for now. Chalkbeat

OPINION Why the debate over Harvard’s admissions policy and affirmative action is painful for many Asian-Americans. Vox