New York is a cosmopolitan city but its public schools are incredibly segregated. Mayor Bill DeBlasio just announced a plan to do something about this by making New York’s elite high schools more diverse.
One of the city school districts is already debating its own plan to desegregate and if that experiment is any indication the mayor might be about to face a lot of angry parents. One of the city’s wealthiest locust districts is constructing a plan to do something about its segregation but as the Chancellor of New York City Public Schools noted on Twitter it’s not going over well with everyone that clip from a public meeting about the plan turned a local news story into a national conversation.
New York City’s district 3 includes both the white and wealthier parts of the Upper West Side and black brown and poorer sections of southern Harlem, there are sixteen middle schools in the district and thanks to a complicated set of admissions criteria the top performing schools are dominated by affluent white and Asian kids, fewer than 10% of the students at those schools come from low-income families. in some other parts of the district almost 100 percent of the kids come from low-income families of color so parents and district tree leaders introduced a plan that would reserve at least 25% of all seats at each school for students who are struggling,this means some high achieving students aren’t going to get there top school choice.
We have not address part of our district and that to me is our problem the conversations that we’re having right now are really really important and they’re really really emotional and they’re not going to solve them tonight. We’re not Kim Watkins is the chair of district 3 is community education council . it’s fear I think it’s less about race and less about racism to a lot of black families, it does feel like it’s about race and the arguments sound a lot like what some of them heard in the 1950s.
I’m not racist but I don’t want my kids around kids who don’t perform well I’m a white parent in Harlem and you know I am, I would never think twice about having my kids sit next to a black kid in a class .
The District three fight exposes the conflict between families desire to choose the best public school for their kids and the community’s real need for equitable education and then just how hard it is to get individual families to stop thinking about school choice.
Like it’s a zero-sum game do you think that the parents of high-performing students end up feeling like they actually deserve the best of what the public schools offer even if it’s at the expense of kids who are struggling, I unequivocally would say there is no owed spots and in the public school system to the extent that it seems that parents feel that way is a flaw in public education and I think it’s an unsustainable environment if we want public education to succeed.