NY Department of Education Vs. the City University of New York

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I attend Hunter College High School, a school run by Hunter College which is part of the City University of New York (CUNY). In order to attend, my fellow classmates and I had to achieve high scores on the standard New York state tests and the school’s own tests and essay process.

When I first enrolled, I was proud and honored to attend. It is a school that opened many academic opportunities to the students who attend. It is a public school, just like my previous middle school, except it isn’t run by the Department of Education. But it is funded by public money, and most of the students who attend had come from a Department of Education school in previous years.

I had thought that being in this school would grant me more opportunities, yet there were a few consequences that my family and I were very upset about.

I had recently applied to a free program called “Summer Arts Institute” that had publicized itself through my friend’s public school (that’s how I found out). I applied to become part of its orchestra. I played the French Horn and desired to continue my training throughout the summer.

It was two weeks before the weekend of the auditions. I was nervous, I hadn’t received the day and time of the try-outs. We called Summer Arts Institute, to later find out disturbing news. All Hunter College Students were not eligible for this program. This prevented anyone attending a non Department of Education school from attending this free program, because it was only for Department of Education students.

My father emailed them back stating that all of the other students and I at my school were just as deserving of this program as Department of Education Schools. We were not a private school, we were just funded by a college. The first response was that the people who donated to the program specifically stated that only Department of Education students should be allowed in. I felt this was a slap in the face. My family’s financial situation had not changed since the time I had attended a department of education school, why should my eligibility for the program.

We responded again, asking for them to allow Hunter students to attend the program. The response this time was that it was policy. They couldn’t allow us in. Was this not unjust? Unconstitutional? We contacted the principal and the head of the CUNY college program that funded my school. As of late I do not know what happened with that communication. Joel Klein (the head of the department of education for New York City) is supposed to have cooperation with the CUNY colleges. Instead, his programs have turned away students who once attended the department of education students.

I urge whoever is reading this is to take some action? Are you a New York school-teacher? A principal? This in unfair, and I think there should be no excuse why students should be turned away. Please fix this situation, or else we are proving the education system is judging the students of Hunter College High School in an unconstitutional manner.





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