Many students, teachers, and parents who are involved with the specialized programs are concerned that this change will lower the quality of the programs. A small protest was held in mid-May, and hundreds of students walked out of class to attend.
“It’s going to water down the program and it’s just going to blend into nothingness,” said Essien Udokang, a parent whose son is in an arts program.
He’s also concerned that the new policy will leave behind talented kids from underprivileged backgrounds who would otherwise have a chance to prove themselves.
“Folks like me, who can afford it, we’ll just put our kids in private school or pay thousands of dollars a month for private lessons instead of wasting their time in a program like this. If there are students who have capability and through lottery don’t get picked…I think those will be the most hard done by. Because they will have talent that could have been cultivated through a high quality of teaching, instruction and opportunity, but now they would have just been randomly selected out of the process. But they can’t pay for private lessons.”