- Racial diversity is rising in some of Brooklyn's District 15 middle schools because of the addition of a lottery-based admission system and removal of competitive screenings, Chalkbeat reports. Early results of the initiative, which started with the 2019-20 school year, also show white, affluent students did not flee the public school system as some feared, and their numbers remained unchanged from the previous school year.
- Eight of the district's 11 middle schools met targets of having 40% to 75% of their students from low-income families, learning English as a new language, or living in temporary housing — up from just three schools last year.
- Education leaders say District 15’s plan should serve as model for New York City’s other districts. Last Thursday, the City Council voted to require all districts that don’t have an integration plan to begin developing one. Similar plans are underway in Manhattan’s District 1 and 3.
While New York City school and city leaders admit the city still has a long way to go in desegregating its schools, they think the're moving in the right direction. In addition to the three districts mentioned above, five more New York City districts — 9, 13, 16, 28 and 31 — received $200,000 from the city's Education Department to develop diversity plans.
Chicago recently addressed its segregation problem by merging two schools that were only a mile apart but had racially segregated student bodies. Schools with lower-income, higher-minority student populations often lack adequate facilities, and proponents of the merger saw it as an opportunity to bring different cultures together.
San Antonio also recently launched an innovative program to desegregate its schools. The Diverse by Design program intentionally desegregates new schools by implementing 50-50 enrollment models where 50% of the students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and the other 50% from higher-income families.
The plan spreads affluence and poverty throughout the city’s 14 districts, which contributes to integration by going beyond the basic free- and reduced-lunch definition of poverty by looking deeper at the presence of single-parent households, home ownership and adult education levels.
In some areas, resegregation is on the rise, however. In Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee, for instance, district secessions are making schools less diverse, according to a a study by the American Educational Research Association. The “one-county, one-school-system jurisdiction” model was designed to end segregation in Southern schools, but some mostly white districts are breaking away to form their own education systems.
The report shows from 2000 to 2015, segregation between black and white students in the counties studied increased from 59.9% to 70.3%. For Hispanic and white students, the segregation jump was even higher, at 37.1% to 65.1%.