It's entitled "Why Don't We Have Any White Kids?" and takes a close look at Explore Charter School in Flatbush, or "the prison school" as it is known to its students.
First, here are the numbers on segregation, first city-wide, then at Explore Charter:
In the broad resegregation of the nation’s schools that has transpired over recent decades, New York’s public-school system looms as one of the most segregated. While the city’s public-school population looks diverse — 40.3 percent Hispanic, 32 percent black, 14.9 percent white and 13.7 percent Asian — many of its schools are nothing of the sort.
About 650 of the nearly 1,700 schools in the system have populations that are 70 percent a single race, a New York Times analysis of schools data for the 2009-10 school year found; more than half the city’s schools are at least 90 percent black and Hispanic. Explore Charter is one of them: of the school’s 502 students from kindergarten through eighth grade this school year, 92.7 percent are black, 5.7 percent are Hispanic, and a scattering are of mixed race. None are white or Asian. There is a good deal of cultural diversity, with students, for instance, of Haitian, Guyanese and Nigerian heritage. But not of class. Nearly 80 percent of the students qualify for subsidized lunch, a mark of poverty. The school’s makeup is in line with charter schools nationally, which are over all less integrated than traditional public schools.
At Explore, as at many schools in New York City, children trundle from segregated neighborhoods to segregated schools, living a hermetic reality.
The school’s enrollment is even more racially lopsided than its catchment area. Students are chosen by lottery, with preference given to District 17, its community school district, which encompasses neighborhoods like Flatbush, East Flatbush, Crown Heights and Farragut. Census data for District 17 put the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade population at 75 percent black, 13 percent Hispanic, 12 percent white and 1 percent Asian. But the white students go elsewhere — many to yeshivas or other private schools.
And of course the predominantly white teaching staff imposes strict discipline on their black charges:
Explore students wear uniforms and have a longer school day and year than the students in the other schools in the building, schools with which they have a difficult relationship. A great deal of teaching is done to the state tests, the all-important metric by which schools are largely judged. In the hallway this spring, before the tests, a calendar counted down the days remaining until the next round.
Explore’s academic performance has been inconsistent. Last year, the school got its charter renewed for another five years, and this year, for the first time, three students, including Jahmir, got into specialized high schools. Yet, on Explore’s progress report for the 2010-11 school year, the Education Department gave it a C (after a B the previous year). In student progress, it rated a D.
“We weren’t doing right by our students,” Mr. Ballen said.
In response, a new literacy curriculum was introduced and greater emphasis was put on applauding academic achievement. School walls are emblazoned with motivational signs: “Getting the knowledge to go to college”; “When we graduate ...we are going to be doctors.” Teachers are encouraged to refer to students as “scholars.”
Convinced that student unruliness was impeding learning, the school installed a rigid discipline system. Infractions — for transgressions like calling out without permission, frowning after being given a demerit, being off task — lead to detention for upper-school students. On some days, 50 students land in detention, a quarter of the upper school.
Positive behavior does bring rewards, like making the Respect Corps, which allows a student to wear an honorary T-shirt. Winning an attendance contest can lead to treats for the class or the freedom to wear jeans.
Still, some students have taken to referring to Explore as “the prison school.”
25%-35% of the teaching staff turns over every year.
But one thing remains constant.
65% are white.
Now an integrated school environment doesn't ensure an excellent education for children.
It doesn't ensure that kids will learn racial and ethnic tolerance.
But it does ensure one thing:
When you have an integrated school, you do NOT have a predominantly white teaching staff imposing strict (and sometimes harsh) discipline onto a student body that is overwhelmingly black.
Explain to me how there is a difference between Bloomberg setting up a school system run by white people to "discipline" students of color and a police policy which, in the words of Commissioner Kelly, seeks to "instil the fear in black and Hispanic youth that every time they leave their homes they will feel that they could be stopped"?
On Thursday I posted that P.W. Bloomberg had built South Africa on the Hudson.
Today's Times story does nothing to undercut that statement.
Welcome to Bloomberg's South Africa on the Hudson - a racist, fascist police state.
Watch out for the truncheons, orange netting, pepper spray and stop-and-frisks.