Queens officials blast de Blasio staffer for interrupting meeting on SHSAT

Queens officials blast de Blasio staffer for interrupting meeting on SHSAT
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By Mark Hallum

The battle for the SHSAT is not going away anytime soon, with elected officials calling out a de Blasio administration employee who is accused of attempting to end the public comment portion of an Oct. 23 Community Education Council 24 meeting.

The representative from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s intergovernmental affairs, Roberto Perez, was said to have attempted to block CEC 24 president Lucy Accardo from returning to the stage after using the restroom and tried to call the heated meeting at the Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hills to an end, according to the New York Daily News.

Staff from CEC 24, which is mostly in Councilman Robert Holden’s district, has not returned request for comment.

“As public servants, our job is to listen to the concerns of our constituents and address them, period,” Holden said. “It is appalling that someone who is paid to represent the people would not only attempt to silence these concerned parents at a public meeting, but do so by intimidating members of the CEC.”

The SHSAT has created an even wider rift between the city and state when de Blasio attempted to have a bill passed in the legislature which would abolish the exam for specialized high schools.

The de Blasio administration has released statistics showing that specialized high schools are dominated by mostly which students, which black and Hispanic pupils not getting a fair shake.

But state legislators, who would ultimately need to pass any laws enacting the mayor’s initiative, were widely opposed to ending the test in favor of instead increasing access to the exam and supporting test prep programs.

State Senator Tony Avella said he would continue to champion upholding the SHSAT.

“The mayor’s office and city Department of Education should be ashamed of themselves for trying to stop community members from voicing their opposition to mayor’s plan to end the Specialized High School Admissions Test,” Avella said.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.