Mapping project illuminates NYC school segregation

Dive Brief:

  • A new study by researchers from The New School, released Wedneday, shows that many New York City schools aren’t as diverse as the neighborhoods around them, proving that gentrification doesn’t equate to more racially and economically-mixed schools.
  • The study took data about median family incomes and the racial makeup of schools and compared it to data from surrounding neighborhoods, finding, at worst, “concentrations of extreme racial segregation,” according to the New York Times.
  • Middle-class or gentrifying families living in neighborhoods zoned for high-poverty schools are more likely to send their children to charter schools or special programs.

Dive Insight:

Though the new study provides updated data, there’s nothing new about segregation in New York City schools. “A report released last year by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that New York City’s are among the most segregated public schools in the country,” the New York Times reported. Further, attempts to come up with solutions to the segregated schools problem by redrawing district boundaries and rezoning neighborhoods have proven contentious.

More recently, a preventative attempt to combat the problem in one Brooklyn school in the midst of a rezoning effort has suggested using a quota system, in which free or reduced-price lunch students would have priority for half the seats in each class at Public School 307.

Recent stories from This American Life and ProPublica have called reintegration into question as a solution for equity. 

While NYC has a pervasive problem with segregated schools, the city certainly isn’t alone. A recent study by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA found that the average Latino student in California attended 84% non-white schools in impoverished areas, while in Minneapolis, segregation in urban schools has grown quickly and dramatically to the point where test scores in "the most minority-concentrated schools lag integrated schools in the metro by about 25 percentage points,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Filed Under: K12 Policy & Regulation