But some schools and even entire districts were exempted from that policy by Mr. Bloomberg, and Mr. de Blasio did not put an end to these sculptures. The most visible example is in District 2 of Manhattan, one of the whitest and richest of the 32 local school districts in the city. Students living in that district, which includes the Upper East Side and West Village, are given priority for places in some high schools in the district, which are among the best performing schools in the city.
No other district in the city has as many high schools for local students as District 2.
Many of these high schools take up almost all of their seats with students in District 2 before even considering qualified students from other parts. This has made some schools, such as Eleanor Roosevelt High School on the Upper East Side, some of the whitest high schools in all of New York City.
Mr. de Blasio, who campaigned for a message to combat inequality in all aspects of city life, has always had the authority to get rid of that priority of admission and all the rest of New York. But he has not exercised his power so far and does so only after the principals of some of the most prestigious high schools in District 2 have publicly asked the city to diversify their schools by getting rid of the preference for admission.
“As a civil servant of a public school, it is my mission to educate as many students as possible from as many different backgrounds as the abundance of the city in which we live,” wrote Dimitri Saliani, principal of Eleanor Roosevelt, in an e-mail. parents this week. “The lack of diversity among students, faculty and staff is a disservice to our community as a whole.”
New York’s school chancellor Richard A. Carranza and his senior deputies have for years urged Mr. de Blasio to get rid of District 2 preference, according to officials with direct knowledge of the talks.
The city will eliminate District 2 priority and all other district priorities for this admission cycle and then eliminate geographic preferences for all other individual high schools that use them for next year’s admissions. Some of the other high schools are not extremely selective from an academic point of view, but admission is partly based on geography.
Mr de Blasio will also announce on Friday that the city will provide grants to five districts to be used to develop diversity plans, modeled on what parents in District 15 have done to eliminate their middle school screening system. Over the next four years, all 32 districts will receive support from the city to create their own integration plans.