Hamilton, James, Richardson Demand De Blasio Halt Admission Changes At Medgar Evers Prep

Senator Jesse Hamilton leading a rally at MCEPS against the DOE admission changes to the school

Pressure is mounting from elected officials, parents, school administrators and teachers for the Department of Education (DOE) to reconsider changes they plan to impose on the 6-12th grade Medgar Evers College Preparatory School (MECPS), as first reported by KCP. 

That after Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn), Public Advocate Letitia James (D) and Assemblymember Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Garden) led a rally today with over a dozen advocates against the recently announced admission process changes at MCEPS, 1186 Carroll Street in Crown Heights.

Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Crown Heights. From Google maps.

The DOE announced two changes earlier this month targeted for implementation at the academically successful school. The first, a technical change, would centralize the MCEPS middle school admission process into the DOE’s current system. The second, would work to recruit and admit a larger number of students with disabilities, consistent with the percentage in District 17, which includes the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, East Flatbush and Crown Heights.

MECP serves a largely African-American student body from Central Brooklyn and southeast Queens that requires an admissions process. It offers a wide array of Advanced Placement classes, and an unusually large program devoted to the study of Mandarin. A source of pride in the African-American community since its inception 16 years ago, MECP sends its graduates both to the Ivy League and to historically black colleges such as Howard University and Spelman College.

At the rally, Hamilton promised to confront Mayor Bill de Blasio personally at his Town Hall in Park Slope tomorrow about the radical changes he feels only decrease the academic potential of minority children in the area.

“We’re going to come down there and let the Mayor know that we mean business. We are going to introduce legislation there to stop the DOE and the mayor from dismantling a flagship school for this community,” said Hamilton.

Public Advocate Letitia James rallying with supporters at MCEPS

James said the DOE should be looking at replicating Medgar Evers not diluting its rigorous academic standards.

“We must preserve the legacy of this school and it’s excellence. You’re not messing with Millennial High School, you’re not messing with Hunter High School, you’re not messing with Mark Twain High School, so why the hell are you messing with Medgar Evers,” said James.

The coalition went on to ask that if the DOE wishes to make changes to MECPS that it be in the form of resources. The MCEPS currently lacks a gymnasium, auditorium and outdoor sport facility for its track and field teams as well as smartboards in every classroom.

Though MECPS is the only school currently targeted for these changes, the DOE does plan to have all schools in their centralized system in the coming years.

The group was also quick to note the city’s abysmal record of closing the education gap between White and Chinese students, and those in black and brown communities. A sticking point considering that most other specialized schools such as Stuyvesant High School, according to the group, admit less than 1% of black or minority students.

“I don’t understand why communities of color always have to fight so hard to protect the gems in their communities, when other communities do not. It is important to understand that this school was established in 2000 with a specific model; to address the needs of the failing education system in communities of color,” said Richardson.