NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There are big changes for admissions at hundreds of New York City middle and high schools, designed to address racial segregation.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reports, New York City’s competitive, hard-to-get-into public middle and high schools, including Beacon High on Manhattan’s West 44th Street and NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies on West 17th Street, are among those getting admissions reboots.

These reforms are long desired by advocates for more integrated schools.

“What I would ask parents to look at is this is going to create more opportunities for students from across the city to go to more and more schools,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

The biggest changes are at middle schools, which are getting a one-year pause. Admissions to them happen with:

  • No test scores
  • No academic screens, meaning records, auditions or merit assessments
  • But yes to lotteries, whenever applicants outnumber the available seats.

“Screens have had the impact of not giving everyone equal opportunity,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“We now will truly have open enrollment, and that in and of itself will allow just a greater number of students to look at schools that perhaps they wouldn’t have looked at before,” Carranza said.

Some parents who applied resources, savvy and grit to get a student in to a desired school say these changes will make an already stressful process even more complicated.

“It’s going to be a huge learning curve and I think that’s just going to be the way of the world,” said Midtown parent Carolyn Montgomery.

Schools: The New Normal

Her son Eli, now in high school, remembers feeling tense about getting in to his public middle school, and he hopes the changes make it easier for others.

“There’s definitely pressure on kids,” he said. “I guess it’s great that it’s easier.”

“New York City has had open enrollment for years. but it’s never truly been open because you’ve had a series of screens that have locked certain kids out of those opportunities,” Carranza said.

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At high schools, screenings remain mostly intact, but there will be no district geographic priority driving high school acceptance.

Not changing at at this time are the elite specialized high schools like Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech, where the state mandated test remains the deciding factor.

The DOE also announced that it will administer the Specialized High School Admission Test in-person beginning in late January.

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