Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

UCLA Civil Rights Project Cites New York For Most Segregated Schools In The Nation

Hey - we're number #1!:

NEW YORK -- New York state has the most segregated public schools in the nation, with many black and Latino students attending schools with virtually no white classmates, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles looks at enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010.

In New York City, the largest school system in the U.S. with 1.1 million pupils, the study notes that many of the charter schools created over the last dozen years are among the least diverse of all, with less than 1 percent white enrollment at 73 percent of charter schools.

"To create a whole new system that's even worse than what you've got really takes some effort," said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an author of the report.

It does take effort, but with former mayor Michael Bloomberg and his DOE minions having worked very hard to close as many public schools as possible and replace them with charter schools (which are the most segregated schools in the city) and fire as many teachers of color as possible and replace them with young white TFA's and the like, that effort has seemed to pay dividends.

Bloomberg and ed deform are not the only contributor to segregation.

The report also blames housing trends in the city, where neighborhoods have become more racially homogenized over the last two and a half decades (although Bloomberg accelerated the gentrification trends with his vast rezoning of much of the city, so even there he is culpable.)

I'd say these are unbelievable results, except if you've been paying attention to the ed deform wars over the last 15 years or so, you'd know that the report's findings are completely believable:

Pedro Noguera, a New York University education professor, said it's disturbing that policy makers have focused so little on racial integration in recent years.

"We've been talking about reforming schools in New York and elsewhere. This issue was never addressed," Noguera said.

He added, "When you concentrate the neediest kids together in under-resourced schools they tend not to do very well."

New York City can now say that we have re-enacted the Jim Crow south here in 2014 New York City, with the school system more racially segregated than anywhere else in America, except that of course in the Jim Crow segregated schools, black children were taught by black teachers while often here in NYC they are taught by young white teachers.

All I can say about this is, what a disgrace!

It would be nice if the Michael Bloomberg's and Eva Moskowitz's who contributed to this disgrace would get some of the blame for it, but alas, that's probably asking too much.

It also would be nice if our governor would do something about this, but since he supports charter schools and only charter schools, that's probably asking too much too.

At any rate, here's hoping Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina will look to do something about this disgrace in NYC.

The report has some suggestions for what to do:

The UCLA report recommends that state and local education agencies develop policies aimed at reducing racial isolation and promoting diverse schools.

The report suggests voluntary desegregation programs in upstate cities like Rochester, where low-income populations are surrounded by more affluent communities.

In New York City, Orfield said, a system of unscreened "choice" schools would foster more diversity than the current New York City high school choice system, which sees entrance tests at top schools excluding most black and Latino students.

One final suggestion: Call Cuomo and tell him to convene a panel over this state disgrace right away.

I mean, Common Core got a panel.

Why shouldn't this school segregation disgrace?


  1. Another real issue that is completely ignored. Studies consistently show that very diverse schools are more effective in closing the achievement gap (just like small class sizes) and yet we have a system of choice that only exacerbates the problem.

    1. Do you think they are really trying to close the achievement gap?

  2. I don't intend what I'm about to say to trivialize the issue. If you've read any of my comments at Gotham or Diane Ravitch's blog, you'll know that I think education is more or less deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic stuff until something is done about segregation.

    But the soundbites here contain a lot of heat that just isn't substantiated by the report. There are plenty of other cities and states, particularly in the northeast and midwest, who are nipping right at New York's segregated heels--it certainly isn't some kind of outlier. Noguera's comments are particularly odd given that he is the guy who famously and accurately noted that decades of white flight from NYC's public schools (a trend that stopped and even showed signs of reversing during the Bloomberg era, btw) has left the system with an insufficient number of white kids to truly integrate it. Orfield would be seem to be happy to leave us with the impression that kids who attend segregated charters are coming from integrated neighborhood school zones, which is of course mostly preposterous, and he fails to mention that there are some charter schools, including Eva's schools sited in high-end neighborhoods, that are as well-integrated as any school in the city.

    On page 124 of the full report, the authors get to the heart of the matter: "The sixth finding relates to the lack of interdistrict desegregation and other diversity-focused policies across the state, as a majority of minority students is locked into or chooses racially isolated schools. Most of the segregation in urban/suburban areas
    is due to segregation across district boundaries rather than within districts." It is missing the big picture to obsess over choice or charters increasing segregation at the margins within New York City when New York City is surrounded by scores of towns with hardly any blacks or Latinos, and while there are suburban municipalities and school districts (mostly on Long Island) that are rapidly segregating as we speak.

    I agree with the authors (and you: there definitely should be a commission) that every possible means of improving intra-district segregation should be studied and implemented, but these measures will only go so far. Truly addressing segregation across the region, state, and country would likely require Federal intervention on at least the same scale as what was done during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and probably even a lot bigger than that. If you can handle being depressed, read Massey and Denton's American Apartheid and then realize how little has changed in the 20 years since it was written.

    (sorry for the long comment)

    1. You make good points, Tim. You're right that the suburbs are a big part of the problem too and that the problems are as enduring as any in American culture and society.

      I grew up in a mostly segregated neighborhood in Queens. I attended an almost all white elementary Catholic school (the only people of color were Asian, less than 1% of the total school.) I never realized there was anything wrong with this until I got to a high school in Manhattan that was better integregated. The experience at that school, with black students and Latino students and Asian students making up about 40% of the school demographic, really brought home to me the important of diversity in schools and made my own experience that much richer.

  3. I don't see where this report takes into account private and parochial schools within NYC which are overwhelmingly white. Basically, self-segregation.

    1. You make a good point. But because people pay for those schools, I guess it's viewed differently. As in my comment to Tim above, my own experience in Catholic school tells me it's a problem there too.

  4. Noguera should really be called out on his hypocrisy.

    How is someone who headed the SUNY Charter Institute and approved many of Moskowitz's charter invasions of public schools given a free ride to voice surprise and dismay at the re-emergence of hyper-segregated schools?

    1. He's full of crap, yeah. Totally a part of the deforms that exacerbated the problem.