district 2 and beyond

When I was looking at high schools for my daughter, families were concerned that there weren’t enough seats at the schools everyone seemed to be talking about, which were in district 2 (in Manhattan, where my kids went to elementary and middle). I had no idea, until Izzy started at Brooklyn Tech and I met parents from all over the city, that while district 2 families felt we were getting the short shrift with lack of seats in high performing schools, district 2 is a pretty unique situation in that we have schools that screen for families in the district. That doesn’t happen everywhere. In fact it doesn’t really happen anywhere else. 

The high school system is currently a jumble of different admissions systems, criteria, set ups. While parts (not all) of Manhattan has district 2 and its exclusive schools to rely on, Manhattan is the only borough without a zoned school - there is no safety net here if you don’t get in somewhere. And I’ve been at meetings with irate families who live in Manhattan but not district 2 and don’t have access when others in the borough do. 

That’s part of the reason why schools like Beacon and Bard are so popular. They’re open to everyone, citywide. The specialized high schools too are a valuable option to families who don’t have many academic option for their kids close to home. 

Brooklyn has some Brooklyn specific schools: Brooklyn Millennium, Murrow - that screen for Brooklyn kids. I thought Murrow sounded fantastic and we were disappointed to learn my daughter couldn’t apply there. 

The system isn’t fair. I write a fair amount about education in the city and about how the city tends to put bandaids on things, rather than deal with bigger issues, like making sure all kids citywide have a fair and equitable shot at a seat in a school that’s a good, challenging fit for them.