Charter Schools

How to Fix 'One of the Most Segregated Public School Systems In the Nation'

"If you force parents to value [diversity] then they won't."


International Charter School of New York |||

New York is "home to the largest and one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation," noted an influential 2014 report from UCLA's Civil Right's Project. New York City's Department of Education, which serves about a million kids, has been experimenting with different strategies to bring more diversity to its system, including a new pilot program that will allow seven schools to set aside seats for English learners, low-income students, and children whose families are on welfare.

A story about the new program that appeared in The New York Times on Tuesday included the mixed reaction of one parent who fears these set asides could take a spot away from his child:

The idea of keeping the school diverse "totally jibes with my politics," said Mark Schwartz, the owner of a liquor store in Prospect-Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn, who also has a kindergartner at the school. "But what if it means we lose out on this opportunity?"

What the story doesn't mention is that there are a growing number of charter schools that have made diversity part of their core mission. These schools specifically recruit and weight their admissions processes to ensure a mix of kids from different backgrounds. An advantage to this approach is that charters aren't assigned to a geographical area, so parents who moved to a neighborhood for access to a local school are less likely to feel resentful.

And if parents make the choice to send their kids to diverse schools, they're more likely to be on board with that mission. "Diversity is something that everybody should value, but if you force parents to value it then they don't," says Matthew Levey, who's the executive director of the International Charter School of New York (ICS), which specifically targets diversity in its recruitment process.

I recently profiled ICS for Reason TV and looked at how rezoning traditional district schools to promote diversity can stoke resentment. Watch that video below:

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  1. I really take issue with the idea that a school district is bad simply because it is segregated. To say that it is, is to say that blacks and other minorities are somehow inferior to whites such that a school composed entirely of one race other than white is destined to fail.

    If it is the case that the City of New York is depriving the minority schools of funds and good teachers, then the problem is the school district is racist not the fact that it is segregated. i seriously doubt that is the case however.

    It is fun and games to throw the fact that Progressive New York has in 2016 a school system that is as segregated as 1962 Birmingham in the Progressives’ faces. Reason should be careful, however, to do that only to point out Progressive hypocrisy on the issue of segregation and not endorse the racist fallacy that any school that doesn’t have the requisite number of superior white children is automatically inferior and discriminatory against the back kids there.

    1. Your point is well made. This idea that diversity qua diversity is a proper state goal is disgustingly racist. It effectively says that blacks and other minorities aren’t smart enough, cultured enough, or driven enough to do the “right” thing, which is usually defined as the “white” thing.

    2. To say that it is, is to say that blacks and other minorities are somehow inferior to whites such that a school composed entirely of one race other than white* is destined to fail.

      Not “destined to”, but, since race is the best predictor of a kid’s school performance (*Asians do better in school than whites), schools with few whites or Asians are certainly more likely to “fail”:
      Race, poverty define failing schools…..eport5.pdf
      “Persistent school segregation does not mean just that children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds attend
      different schools, but that their schools are also unequal in their students’ performance. This study documents nationally the extent of disparities in student performance between schools attended by whites and Asians compared to blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. The analysis shows that a focus solely on schools at the bottom of the distribution as in No Child Left Behind would only modestly reduce the wide disparities between groups.

      “They” are pushing for racial conformity between schools, and calling it “diversity”, because racial conformity reduces the differences between various schools’ apparent performance and therefore reduces the number of “failing schools”.

  2. Roll it up dud,e lets hit it good.

  3. “New York City’s Department of Education . . . has been experimenting with different strategies to bring more diversity to its system, including a new pilot program that will allow seven schools to set aside seats for English learners, low-income students, and children whose families are on welfare.”

    Do you know why non-English speakers, low-income students, and children whose families are on welfare want their children to got to schools outside of their communities?

    It’s because they care about their children. Parents who don’t care about their children don’t care if their childreb attend classes with non-English speakers, low-income students, and children whose families are on welfare.

    Seriously, if you care so little about your children that you don’t care whether they attend classes with such undesirable classmates, consider putting your children up for adoption.

    There are private adoption agencies that can place your child with a caring, affluent, childless couple–outside of New York City–where your child might have an excellent chance at a decent education.

  4. “UCLA’s Civil Right’s Project”

    Let me guess. It does not mean what I think it means.

    1. UCLA’s “Civil” “Right’s” Project

      Is that better?

    2. Why does “Right’s” have an apostrophe?

  5. Once they get to university a good number will work hard to segregate themselves again anyway.

    1. Like their parents did? The reason (esp. elementary) schools are segregated is because they draw from their immediate neighborhood.

  6. Most whites and Asians will tolerate a sprinkling of black and brown faces in their child’s school because multi-culti good but absolute won’t send their kid to a school that is majority minority.

    1. What fun would the prom be without decent dancing?

    2. They’ve already said the schools suck not to mention they’re located in high crime neighborhoods. You would have to be a pretty shitty parent to bus your kid into that sort of situation.

  7. Minority students should be free to go to the best public schools, provided they can afford to live in the area. Which is obviously the fault of greedy republicans who won’t guarantee everyone a living wage of six figures /limousine liberal

  8. I am a product of the 1947 integration of all US military dependent schools by order of President Harry Truman. It worked. As a young child, and young man, we knew nothing else. To not get along with someone because of race was a reflection upon our military parents both men and women in the Armed Forces.

    I can tell you that the Military and its “brats” are proud of diversity, and the fact that it was ordered is a meaningless debate for those who simply are racially bigoted. You ask any military “brat” how he feels about diversity and they will tell you the same thing.

    1. Yes, because schools on military bases are totally the same as public schools.

  9. the schools aren’t segregated. They simply have a racial make up that is not approved by left wing racists (redundant! I know). Public school segregation is illegal. If a certain neighborhood happens to be white or black or yellow or brown and the schools are made up of prominently those races, it isn’t segregation. The schools simply reflect the neighborhood. Unless those schools are doing something to intentionally keep certain races out or certain races in, there’s nothing wrong with the racial make up of the school.

    Again, if you look at the races of the students and complain there are too many of one race and not enough of another then you’re a fucking racist and should fuck off.

  10. Is the guy on the right in the video still a typical New Yorker? If the answer is “yes”, I think I have my answer to this blogpost.

  11. The modern worship of “diversity” increasingly makes me ill. On the scale of valuable things, it ranks very, very low. (And it has known negative effects: diverse communities tend to have lower social trust, higher crime, and higher corruption.) For a school, it should obviously rank far below “achievement.” But focusing on achievement brings up unpleasant realities, so people prefer to focus on the magical idea that sprinkling students around according to race is going to fix anything.

  12. Fairness programs are not fair.

  13. Isn’t New York the most horrible place on the face of the earth? Someone save that place. But not before your bag drips sweet drugs for agile, bro? Yea, thot so. sweet out, nigga.

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