For Immediate Release
December 13, 2018
Livingston, New Jersey: Asian American Coalition of Education (AACE) has joined the plaintiffs in filing a federal lawsuit against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s racial balancing act to expand the city’s Discovery Program as a part of a reform on its Specialized High Schools. Not only does de Blasio’s race-based reform intentionally and unconstitutionally manipulate admissions into world-class public high schools, this purely politically motivated act but also serves as an ineffective bandage over the mayor’s failure to provide quality K-8 education for underrepresented communities.
Litigated by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), this lawsuit is brought forth by a group of Asian-American parents, AACE, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, and the Christa McAuliffe Parent Teacher Organization, who have jointly requested a federal judge to halt the proposed expansion of the Discovery program. Currently, the Discovery Program initiative offers admissions to students from low-income families who have just missed the SHSAT cutoff line and awards 5% of the ninth-grade seats in these schools. Under de Blasio’s proposal, the Discovery program will be expanded to fill 20% of school seats and to mandate Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, Staten Island Tech and Stuyvesant to accept Discovery students. Most audaciously, it will also be reconfigured to redefine “disadvantaged” to only include applicants from predominantly black and Hispanic high-poverty middle schools. It unlawfully restricts equal access of tens of thousands of poor Asian-American children living outside high-poverty school districts to Specialized High Schools.
Mayor de Blasio’s plan to reform the Discovery program blatantly violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees the equal protection of the laws. Once in effect, this illegal attempt of racial balancing will undoubtedly hurt the admissions prospects of Asian-American children. Every academically qualified child coming from a disadvantaged background in NYC should be eligible for the Discovery program, regardless of their place of residency. Furthermore, this costly expansion (estimated at $550,000) is just another futile effort by de Blasio to mask his failures to improve K-8 education in black and Hispanic communities: under his watch, math and English proficiency rates among black and Latino students from grades 3 through 8 are less than 50% of performance levels among Asian and Caucasian American students.
As a national organization fighting for Asian-American children’s equal education rights, AACE has a vested interest in winning this lawsuit. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE commented: “Cowardly politicians such as Mayor de Blasio wants to impose race-based admissions in New York’s elite high schools, not to fundamentally improve education in black and Hispanic communities, but for personal political gains. We will not allow illegal racial balancing to encroach into K-12 education!”
Asian American Coalition for Education
Raymond Wong, telephone: (646) 853-0928, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swann Lee, telephone: (617) 906-6380, email: email@example.com.
About the AACE: www.asianamericanforeducation.org
Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is a non-political, nonprofit, grassroots national organization, the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal educational rights.
On May 23, 2016, the founders of AACE united 132 Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights violation complaint with the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice against Yale University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian Americans. This complaint is now being investigated by the Justice Department. Over the years, we have advanced the cause of educational equality for the Asian American community. In July 2018, the federal government adopted our policy recommendations by rescinding Obama era guidance that promoted racial balancing and acquiesced to racial discrimination in college admissions.