Friday, February 6, 2015

NYS' Racially Segregated Schools - The Scourge the NY Times Can See, But Cuomo Cannot

New York State's schools are the most segregated in the nation, as reported by a University of California-Los Angeles study last year. New York City's are the third most segregated in the nation, after those in Chicago and Dallas, as discussed in 2012. See also, this article, from Al Jazeera, on the resegregation of United States schools, from last May, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Lost in the New York education news of the last few weeks was this January 9, 2015 editorial by the New York Times calling attention to the school segregation.
Still very disappointing: the article mentions "the Chancellor," but not Dr. Merryl Tisch by name. Likewise, Governor Andrew Cuomo is only mentioned in the last paragraph. For all their righteousness, why do not Tisch or Cuomo heed attention to this issue?

Racial Isolation in Public Schools

New York City and its Segregation
As many note, the key thing is to achieve neighborhood integration. New York, like some other core metropole cities such as Chicago or Atlanta, is segregated despite its diversity. And several cities from ex-Confederate states, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia, ironically, did better in city integration than New York City. NYC ranks 19th of the 45 cities over 400,000.

 How NYC Apartheid/Caste schooling impairs the education and health of students in the lower half of the city's high schoolers
As high school teachers in the lower Social Economic schools will tell you, large percentage of the students are not from the neighborhood. Their travel commutes span across one or two borough lines, and run for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in one direction. Pediatricians recommend that school starting times are too early for teens in general. However, those teens making long commutes must wake even earlier than the population that the pediatricians have in mind. Those not waking early enough for punctual arrival end up arriving to school late or missing school entirely. (This blog has previously written on the segregation of the NYC schools, and how the schools in the subaltern direction lack diversity in courses and other amenities.)

School closures (far) disproportionately impact students of color
See this report at National Opportunity to Learn Campaign. Keep in mind that this graphic comes from a page published, April, 2013. The number depicts just closures from 2013.

Cuomo and his allies are duplicitous in their adopting the civil rights mantle for their education policies. The pattern of the school closures is one that disproportionately impacts African-American and low income communities. Gone are the neighborhood schools and their institutional memory of richly varied curricula.

The New York Times was right to criticize Cuomo on segregation. The case needs to be made more broadly: with the segregation comes lower resources, such poor curricula choices, poorer technology, less access to libraries, fewer after-school activities.