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NYC Mom Exposes School Admissions Deception

It’s been a long, arduous, and stressful New York City public school admissions season. And, unfortunately, it’s not over yet. The Department of Education (DOE) has now pushed admissions to public Gifted & Talented programs for grades Kindergarten through 3rd to “late July.”

Meanwhile, families of rising 9th graders are still hoping for a seat at the high-school of their dreams off the waitlist. But, as one mother found out, the process for receiving such an offer was quietly changed – after applications had already gone in!

Below is her correspondence with the DOE, which forced them to admit it.

She wrote:

Dear Ms. O’Neil, Ms. Kleinhandler, and Ms. Ramos-Solomon, and the DOE Wait list Team,

I am writing to inform you that the wait list system is BROKEN and needs to be FIXED IMMEDIATELY! 

If you do a search on the DOE’s website for, “How does the DOE use my random number”, the site states:

For waitlists, each applicant receives a new random number for each waitlist they are on.

This is NOT happening. In my child’s profile on MySchools, her lottery number is the SAME as it was in the main round! She has NOT been given a new random number for each school’s wait list that she is on!! This explains why some students are seeing movement on their wait list and receiving multiple wait list offers and others are seeing little to no movement all! The wait lists are only working for those that had good initial lottery numbers in the main round.

The DOE LIED about the waitlists! Students did not receive new lottery numbers! This is COMPLETELY UNFAIR and NOT what was told to students and their families. 

Chancellor Banks talks about the DOE wanting to be partners with parents. The DOE cannot expect parents to be “partners” when we are LIED TO and the standards are being changed, WITH OUR NOTICE, in the middle of this process! It is UNFAIR and WRONG for the DOE to this.

The DOE MUST fix the wait list system immediately!

Otherwise parents will have no choice but to file a request, under the freedom of information act, and make the DOE show us all the new lottery numbers assigned to each student for each school’s wait list. 

Please FIX the wait list system immediately!

She received the following reply from Matthew Broggini – Executive Director of Middle School and High School Admissions, Office of Student Enrollment:

Your email was passed along to me. Thanks for reaching out and sharing your questions with us. We have updated our website to provide more clarity on how waitlists work. 

· At programs that evaluate applicants, students are ordered for both admissions and waitlists based on a rank. This means that students are admitted to these programs AND positioned on waitlists in the same order. This includes programs that are:

o   Screened with assessment

o   Screened without assessment

o   Screened: Language / Academics

o   Audition

·  At all other programs, waitlists are fully randomized. This means that students are positioned on waitlists differently than they were considered for admissions. Their waitlist position is determined by a waitlist random number.

o   Open

o   Ed Opt

The number that is displayed in the MySchools profile was the number that was used in the admissions process. Waitlists that are fully randomized are being sorted by a different random number, which is unique for each fully randomized waitlist a student is on.

Please let us know if we can provide any additional information.

All best,


Her response:

Hello again Mr. Broggini,

After reviewing the DOE website further and re-reading your email, there is another issue I must address with you.

You wrote: We have updated our website to provide more clarity on how waitlists work. 

This is NOT providing “more clarity”, but rather a complete change in policy!

The DOE website went from stating one sentence, “For waitlists, each applicant receives a new random number for each waitlist they are on”, to now having multiple paragraphs on how the wait list is currently being handled. 

WHY were all these so-called “clarifications” NOT stated on the DOE website, or made available to parents, PRIOR to March 12th, 2022, when students needed to submit their list of 12 school choices!!?? Or even prior to June 8th when the wait list process began??!!

Remember, students and their families may be smarter than the DOE expects them to be. And “People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing”! So why weren’t all of the “clarifications” available on the DOE website until today??!! There is another saying, “You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game”.  

How do you think Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks will answer this question when the media asks them about this?

The DOE cannot change its wait list policy in the middle of the process! This is completely wrong, unfair and makes the DOE come across as a group of LIARS! No wonder parents do not want to partner with an organization that behaves this way! 

If Chancellor Banks wants to partner and engage with parents, then the DOE should have been, and needs to be, clear and transparent of its policies from the beginning of the process.

I understand that the current DOE leadership and Adams administration inherited much of this in January, but your team had many opportunities to fix it and get it right the first time.

The DOE MUST follow their original publish policy and give every student a new random number for each school’s waitlist they are on, no matter what type of admissions the school has. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game.

I look forward to hearing how the DOE will resolve this. 

As of Monday, July 11, 2022, there has been no response from the DOE.

Please let us know your thoughts about this development in the Comments section!

What do you think?

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