NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio’s son Dante has jumped into the debate over his father’s controversial plan to diversify New York’s elite public schools.
Dante de Blasio wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News, supporting the mayor’s call to change admissions standards at eight schools in the city. One of those schools would be Brooklyn Tech, where Dante graduated from in 2015.
The mayor’s son also made inflammatory accusations about the public school system and classmates, claiming he was the victim of racism while in school.
“Racism…. was all too common,” the younger de Blasio wrote.
Dante – who was accepted to Yale University – alleged that Asian classmates were dismissive of his achievement, writing, “More than one said to my face that I’d probably gotten in because of affirmative action or my last name.”
“It’s heartfelt and well-written and it makes me very proud of him, but it also makes me sad that he had to write it,” Mayor de Blasio said in a radio interview. “I think, like many students, he often felt isolated and he often felt judged unfairly.”
The op-ed cites the “toxic nature of race relations” as the main factor behind why he is in favor of scrapping the city’s standardized test, which determines who enters New York’s most prestigious high schools.
The mayor has called for 20 percent of those seats to be blocked off and reserved for low-income students starting in 2019. He is also seeking legislation to eliminate the special admissions test and replace it with criteria based on middle school class rank and state test scores.
Some New York public school graduates pushed back against the de Blasio family’s charges of racism in the testing system.
“He’s gotta defend his father,” Brooklyn tech graduate Daniel Moy told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “The test doesn’t see whether you’re Asian, black, white, or anything.”
A spokesperson for the Brooklyn Tech alumni foundation called Dante a fine young man however, the foundation added “ending the test as the criterion for admission is not the answer.” The spokesperson also said the city must provide better education in communities that are underrepresented in the elite schools.
In his op-ed, Dante de Blasio also noted opponents’ arguments, including the need to increase access to test-prep, but said the staggering lack of black and brown students shows that more meaningful action is needed.