We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
NYC has used tests, some at 5 years old, to determine who is admitted to the city's public accelerated schools. 5 years old seems a bit young to me for that, but the general idea was the same that drove the creation of the SAT: to prevent discrimination other than about intellectual potential.
I was a bright kid without any particular talents, no genius and not entirely dedicated to school. I grew up in an entirely non-diverse neighborhood and town. Lily-white. Every boy wanted to be an Eagle Scout.
The notion of racial disparity did not exist, but there were clear distinctions between the smart kids and the slow kids, the athletically talented kids and the not, etc. I doubt I would have been admitted to a public NYC accelerated school, but I was forced to learn discipline when I went to a private high school with high demands and expectations.
I think what is going on in NY is about skin tone and ethnicity.
Unrelated to the "war on merit", but an interesting data point:
here we are, almost a year and a half into the coronavirus hysteria, and one of the public elementary schools that I'm familiar with still has only about 300 kids (out of the 800 enrolled), who are actually showing up in the building. The other 500 are staying home, occasionally logging in to their online classes. This school is located in a Bangladeshi & Uzbeki neighborhood in Brooklyn NYC, and has pre-K (4 year olds) through 5th grade. Even the Pre-K students who are at home log in for a couple of hours each day for their "class". (Next year they will also have "3-K" ... 3 year olds)
One of the local junior high schools does have some sort of entrance exam.
Besides the War on Merit, and the coronavirus scare, we also have to deal with Critical Race theory being taught at this school. Three fronts are raging in this war.