Brooklyn school to de-emphasis math after being better racially integrated

Emphasizing math is now "misaligned with the school's values," says principal

Principal Arin Rusch

The Brooklyn Math and Science Exploratory School will now drop the words “math and science” from its name.

The fifteen-member Community Education Council for District 15 voted anonymously to remove “math and science” from the school’s name. Principal Arin Rusch stated, “The name Math and Science Exploratory School is limiting and misaligned with the school’s values and goals.” This comes as the school has experienced a sudden drop in the total number of students passing the standardized math test.

For years, many parents viewed the school as a highly desirable place to send their kids. It has a five-star rating on Great Schools from parents,

In 2018, 95% of all students at the school passed. In 2022, it was down to only 69%.

However, the top performing specialty schools in District 15 were specifically targeted for better racial integration. Beginning in 2019, the school had to prioritize certain categories of students. According to the Washington Post, this resulted in some White students, who wanted to attend the school, being moved to mostly non-White schools. Meanwhile, Blacks and Latinos, who would have otherwise attended different schools were enrolled.

From Washington Post (Nov, 2019)…

Students at Angel’s old elementary school overwhelmingly come from poor and Hispanic families. Now, a new integration plan in Brooklyn had placed him at a middle school called the Math & Science Exploratory School. It was popular with affluent families, but would he fit in?
Sophie Rivas, who comes from one of those affluent white families, badly wanted to attend Math & Science or one of her other top choices. Like Angel, she ranked Math & Science first on her school lottery application, but because Angel’s family is low-income, he had priority. Sophie did not.
Instead, Sophie traveled to Sunset Park, where Angel lives, to a school she had not heard of until she found out she was placed there. She arrived to find she was one of the only non-Hispanic children in her class.

Former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was adamant that Brooklyn’s best-performing specialty schools be better racially integrated, even at the expense of advanced programs that benefit the best-performing students.

According to Great Schools, Whites, Asians, and people who identified as mixed race pass the standardized math test at over double the Hispanic rate. They are passing at over quadruple the Black rate.

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