One of our daily readers, who signs as “New York City Public School Parent,” pointed out recently that the wait list for popular public high schools in New York City is far larger than the alleged wait list for charter schools.

I checked the sources, and by golly, NYC PSP is correct. More than 155,000 students applied for but did not win admission to the high school of their choice. Of course, NYC PSP points out that there are only 78,000 eighth-graders applying for multiple schools, but that is the nature of wait lists. There are always duplications, triplications, and students applying to multiple schools at the same time. A few years ago, a journalist in Boston told me that he reviewed the celebrated “wait list” and discovered that it not only included the same students applying to multiple charters, but students who had already been placed, and students who were registered in a public school that they liked, and even students who no longer lived in the city. So, when you hear about “wait lists,” don’t believe it until it has been audited by a reputable and independent source.

InsideSchools writes:

There is greater demand than ever for the large, popular high schools. For the fourth year in a row, Francis Lewis in Queens took the number one spot for the most applicants of any high school in New York City—a whopping 17,440 students applied to this huge neighborhood school, compared to 10,403 in 2018.

According to data released by the Department of Education (DOE), large high schools in Queens and Brooklyn and highly selective schools in Manhattan were the most popular. (This list does not include the specialized high schools, which students apply to separately.)

The other schools rounding out the top five—also large, neighborhood high schools—were at the top of the last year’s list too and all had big increases in applicants over 2018.

Brooklyn’s Midwood High School, which has a very selective medical science and humanities programs, came in second, with 14,137 applications compared to 9,927 in 2018. Bayside, Benjamin N. Cardozo and Forest Hills, three large neighborhood high schools in Queens, were third, fourth and fifth.

It is interesting that some of the schools in highest demand are the few remaining large schools. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein closed most of the large high schools. The few that remain are very popular with students, who apparently like the wide variety of courses, programs, electives, foreign languages, advanced courses, and sports that they offer. Bloomberg and Klein bet on small schools as the wave of the future, but students are voting with their feet for schools like Francis Lewis High School, Midwood High School, and Edward R. Murrow, all with large enrollments and varied programs.

This is what NYC PSP wrote:

Here are links to info on public school “wait lists”. The Inside Schools website posted this article:

It links to this recently released document that lists how many NYC public school students are on “wait lists” (as charters insist wait lists must be defined) for 20 of the 400 public high schools.

If you go to the above link, you can see that there are a total of 171,144 8th graders who “applied” to these 20 schools and 16,247 8th graders who got seats.

Leaving a grand total of 155,497 8th grade students on “wait lists” for NYC public high schools.

To repeat — according to the methodology that charters insist we must use, there are currently 155,497 8th grade students on “wait lists” for 20 public high schools and certainly tens of thousands more on “wait lists” for the other 380.

Of course, there are only about 78,000 8th grade students in NYC public schools! But there are 155,497 8th grade students on “wait lists” for just 20 of the 400 public high schools. Twice as many 8th graders on wait lists as there are actual 8th graders! Using false charter accounting methodology.

Does Meryl Tisch want to build more public high schools for those 155,497 NON-EXISTENT 8th graders that charter supporters would have to agree that by their methodology must be counted as being on “wait lists” for public high schools?