Monday, July 10, 2017

Why Does Bill De Blasio Get a Pass on Separate But Unequal Segregation in New York City Schools?

Bill De Blasio inherited a public school system tremendously harmed by New York City's previous mayor, Mike Bloomberg. The latter, among his changes, had shut down dozens of schools and had them broken into small schools. This trend particularly happened at the high school level.

Yet, De Blasio has pushed hard in recent weeks for the renewal of mayoral control. With mayoral control he could have spent the previous three years reversing the damage that Bloomberg began. Instead, he continued it.

We see in rampant segregation in New York City schools the results of the changes that Bloomberg started and De Blasio continued. The New York Post yesterday posted an article on one parent who is suing the city for unequal resources. Some of the issues addressed in the story are the mere tip of the iceberg of the inequality issues in the city's high schools.

The disparity described in the article is regarding exclusive access certain physical education and disparate funds. An elite school in the former John Jay High School campus, Brooklyn Millenium High School, has access to a pool and $115,255 in a given year.  Park Slope Collegiate School and the other two schools in the campus do not have pool access and received $41,045 in the same year.

This echoes disparities easily evident in the 2017 New York City High School Directory. The pattern immediately becomes evident: small schools, particularly those with African-American and Latino populations have limited offerings. Few foreign language offerings. Limited sports activities. The schools do not offer Advance Placement courses. Instead, we see online instruction offerings. Continuing with Brooklyn, take for example, the Cultural Academy for the Arts and Sciences ine East Flatbush, at the former Tilden High School campus, which has a student body of 354. Only one language is offered as a foreign language. The description of Academics includes some topics that are more likely after school: "College Partnerships ... International Partnerships." Online learning gets mention in the first line, "Aventa/Fuel Education Blended On-Line Learning Courses." There are no AP courses.
Continuing with Brooklyn, Edward R. Murrow in Midwood with 3,885 students offers five foreign languages. There are 13 AP courses. This sample of offerings in the Academics section represents real classes not after-school programs: "Law Program, Psychology, INTEL, Journalism, Writer’s Institute, Film Review, Social History Electives, Shakespeare, Holocaust/African/Latin Literature."

Where is the outrage? Where is the coverage among the television network affilates?  Where are the hearings by the city council's education committee? It has gotten so bad that finally the New York Times in the last 12 months finally brought itself to address the issue. The Times recognizes that the segregation starts with Pre-K and that school choice has triggered this. De Blasio last month defended what has become the status quo. An education department spokesperson uses the word "diversity" to characterize the city system, instead of "segregated." Of course, no principled reversal of the Bloomberg destructive public school policies is in sight.

This shame of segregation is a scandal that De Blasio gets away with because his chancellor unresponsive to the public and the mayor and chancellor's rubber-stamping Panel For Educational Policy is an undemocratic institution. This is all the result of mayoral control. The media and political classes are silent abetters.