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New York’s badly segregated schools

A new Civil Rights Project report on segregation in New York schools, by UCLA researchers John Kucsera and Gary Orfield, demonstrates that New York State has the most racially segregated schools in the country. New York’s schools are more segregated than schools in the Deep South, even after the civil rights movement and desegregation efforts made around the state since the 1970s.

New York City contributes mightily to the state’s overall lack of diversity in schools, Orfield writes in the report’s preface, with the city’s recent school-choice policies tending to perpetuate segregation. The authors flag city charter schools as exceptionally segregated. Almost three-quarters are termed “apartheid schools” with less than 1 percent white enrollment.

By contrast, the city’s magnet schools had the highest proportion of multiracial learning environments and the lowest proportion of segregation, the authors find.

Orfield, in a preface to the report, makes the case that integrated schools offer an advantage to all students across the board by preparing them for an increasingly diverse college and job market. Integration benefits academic achievement and health outcomes for minority students and social skills for whites and all other students.

School-choice plans without “civil rights standards,” he writes, increase the stratification of schools and leave children of color attending segregated and poorer schools. “Such ‘freedom of choice’ and ‘open enrollment’ plans were tried in many hundreds of districts,” he says. “The record, as the Supreme Court recognized in l968, was a failure.”

When districts implement choice, whether through magnets, charters or other types of assignments, the planning must be linked to measures that will uphold civil rights standards, such as extensive outreach, free transportation, “authentic educational options worth choosing,” and no admissions screening.

For students who speak languages other than English, the authors urge expansion of dual language immersion programs.

New York City’s notoriously segregated housing markets are a factor in school segregation, but not an excuse to do nothing, Orfield says.



  • 1 phyllis c muray
    · Apr 1, 2014 at 4:55 am

    “Racial and ethnic discrimination have had a long history in the United States, beginning with the importation of African slaves in the seventeenth century. The U.S. CIVIL WAR and the THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT may have ended SLAVERY, but they did not end racial discrimination. In fact, the U.S. legal system embraced for over 70 years a system of state-sponsored racial SEGREGATION in schools, transportation, and public accommodations. In addition, blacks and other minorities were denied the vote. Ethnic discrimination has also been common, beginning with the first wave of Irish immigration in the 1830s. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, discrimination based on race and ethnicity developed with the first arrivals of each alien group. Thus, the Chinese, the Japanese, Italians, Jews, Hispanics, Vietnamese, Somalis, and other groups have encountered hostility and bias when they tried to find jobs or places to live. Since the 1960s, federal CIVIL RIGHTS laws and Supreme Court decisions have sought to combat illegal discrimination based on race or ethnicity.” “In the 1960s, Congress responded by enacting a series of laws designed to end discrimination based on race and ethnicity: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e et seq.), the VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965 (42 U.S.C.A. § 1973 et seq.), and the FAIR HOUSING ACT OF 1968 (42 U.S.C.A. § 3601 et seq.). The Supreme Court found these acts constitutional, which signaled federal dominance over matters previously thought to be within the scope of state and local governments.” Furthermore, the restrictive covenants prior to the 1960s, prevented many African Americans, Hispanics, and Jews from purchasing homes in various communities within the USA. Scarsdale, NY was one of those communities. “In many cases before the 1960s, these covenants were used for segregationist purposes.[3] A covenant might promise that only members of a certain race would occupy the property. In the case of Shelley v. Kraemer the United States Supreme Court ruled that it would be unconstitutional for the courts to enforce racially restrictive covenants, and such covenants no longer have any forcce.” I have used the books of David A. Adler to help tell the story of Dr. King, Rosa Parks,Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall et al. David A. Adler is a remarkable author. He is worthy of much praise for bringing knowledge and understanding about History to students who deserve to know the whole truth about racial and ethnic discrimination. Phyllis C. Murray, Literacy and Social Studies 75X a href=”http://law.jrank.org/pages/9625/Racial-Ethnic-Discrimination.html”>Racial and Ethnic Discrimination – Further Readings Read more: Racial and Ethnic Discrimination – Further Readings http://law.jrank.org/pages/9625/Racial-Ethnic-Discrimination.html#ixzz0dWeqs2ko

  • 2 Melvin Band
    · Jun 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    If you want to know if a school is truly integrated, do not just look at the percentage of students of different races and ethnic backgrounds in the school, but look at the distribution of these kids during the day. Black and White, Brown and Yellow, they all walk in together and they all walk out together, BUT during the day they are NOT together. Midwood High School, for example, has a very vast majority of its White and Asian students enrolled in its Bio Med Program ,while its Collegiate program is mainly Black and Hispanics. The responsibility to eliminate this imbalance falls in the hands of the parents,DOE and our elected officials.