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NYC Schools are Segregated

February 2, 2020 pm29 1:04 pm

New York City schools are segregated. That is context.

I am not writing about how they became segregated, or how segregated they are (very).

I am reminding us, all of us, of the context.

The Chancellor’s proposal to integrate the specialized high schools was rolled out poorly. He caught allies off-guard. He angered opponents. State Senators (including mine) blasted him for not holding hearings before sending the proposal to Albany (where the state government 50 years ago assumed direct control over preventing integration in NYC). But the context?  New York City schools are segregated.

The School Diversity Advisory Group’s recommendations were blasted in the media. I read their recommendations, overall a great report. They made 28 recommendations; the media focused on one. The context?  New York City’s schools are segregated.

Several Districts have begun discussions about integration. There have been angry conversations. Some parents have said pretty cringe-worthy stuff (the worst, from PS199 in District 3 from two years ago, it looks like the video has been everywhere-deleted). The Chancellor has inflamed the situation. He’s walked out. He’s been abrasive. But the context is not an honest give and take over policy. The context: New York City’s schools are segregated.

The Chancellor and his team have been unresponsive to allies. They have stonewalled. They have failed to share information. In one case I am aware of, they have shut down a promising proposal. I am not pleased with their behavior or performance. But the context? They are fighting (perhaps not very smartly, not very well) segregation. And New York City’s schools are segregated.

Way back when I started this blog, back when I wrote regularly, I contributed to this: (line four is from me) https://thejosevilson.com/howl-the-jose-vilson-version/ and I posted this (enlarge the photo, look at the etching).

And I still believe it. There are two sides in the fight to end segregation. On our side are people who make mistakes, who are rude, clumsy. But also people who are bright, thoughtful, considerate, and passionate. On the other side are clever people and clods, dedicated people, lightweights.  Both sides are comprised of many individuals. There is variety on both sides. There are arguments on both sides. We can make things complicated. Or we can understand that fundamentally it is simple.

There are two sides. Those who are opposed to segregation. And those who are for it. If you object, we will all know why.

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