10 thoughts on “Policies Shift, Neighborhoods Change, but Elementary School Segregation Holds On

  1. This is one of the better articles, clearly articulating many sides of this complex problem. Though one of the challenges that does not get enough attention (probably due to lack of research) is how parent’s preferences for types of educational environments (authoritarian, regimented, emphasis on test scores vs. those schools that emphasize social, emotional and academic learning equally along with greater student freedom) may reflect the socio-economic disparity of students who tend towards one or the other of these “types” of school environments. Unless the DOE mandates that all school principals create environments based on standard social norms, thereby minimizing choices and differences, we will either have to come to terms with variance between schools or we’ll need to figure out how to honor free choice with equitable resource allocation – something that is also sadly missing.

    • The Earth School currently has 50% students who are eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch.

  2. This is going nowhere. Even progressive deBlasio won’t touch the issue of segregation. Middle-class people want safe schools for their kids.

    • I’d wager all people want safe schools for their kids. Tell us more about how you think safety connects to the questions or racial and economic diversity, Native New Yorker?

      • The NYC middle-class has been through all this before. The violent troubled schools are the schools with large numbers of black and Hispanic students. That’s just the truth. Since we are talking about integration do you think white middle-class parents will willingly send their kids into those troubled schools? I don’t think so. And they will fight like hell if the DOE tries to send those same endlessly troubled kids into their neighborhood schools. Or they will put their kids in private/parochial schools or more likely move to the suburbs. Ask your neighbors who were around the 1960s and 70s, they can explain it better than I can. BTW don’t believe deBlasio’s school crime numbers, talk to teachers about what’s really going on.

        • I’m not sure middle-class parents’ willingness is really an important consideration — after all, white people’s desires for integration weren’t always (which is to say, ever) the driving force behind getting rid of separate lunch counters and water fountains and the like. What’s more, my middle-class parents sent me to a majority-minority high school. I send my kids to elementary and middle schools in which whites are a stark minority. And my folks did not feel, nor do I feel, that there was anything particularly remarkable about that choice. If school violence were properly understood as a racial problem, all the families in white suburbs that have seen school shootings in the past 20 years would be flocking to the five boroughs.

          • And yet I don’t see deBlasio or anyone else exactly pushing aggressive school integration strategies. This is a dead issue in NYC. Clever point you make about school shootings but we both know the real issue in NYC is things like teacher assaults, student robberies and assaults.

          • I don’t know that a lack of interest on Bill de Blasio’s part is what qualifies something as a dead issue. You’re correct that it’s politically dangerous territory, but inertia doesn’t equal validation.

            And yes, you’re right: lower-level crimes are more common than school shootings in general. I just reject the notion that presence of those crimes is inversely related to a school’s White population share.

            But let’s say I’m wrong and you’re right–that mostly minority schools are naturally dangerous. Wouldn’t the wise thing be to add some White people and make it all better?

  3. Great article. Next up please look how District 2 high schools (and the politicians that engineered them) have protected “choice” except when they don’t want to. I’m referring to the screened high schools that have fewer special education and ELL students than other public high schools down the avenue. And while some of these schools appear to be statistically more diverse, they still aren’t really reflective of overall NYC diversity. Does Eleanor Roosevelt H.S. have 40% Latino students? While the likes of Cuomo and other Democratic reformers have pushed “choice,” the white folks of Manhattan get to preserve their high schools only open by zone! They want “choice” when the school across the street has too many students of color, but they want a zone (but screened) school when they’re the white majority on the block!

  4. One more comment: A careful journalist would be aware that about two thirds of Earth School students have opted out of the test over the last few years. Hmm…

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