- Almost half of the schools in the nation’s largest district are not representative of the communities they serve, according to a new analysis from the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York released Tuesday. Based on 2018-19 enrollment data, 755 (41%) of New York City's 1,842 public schools were found to not reflect their local districts' demographics, while 27% were.
- The majority (55%) of unrepresentative schools were elementary schools, while 31% of high schools and 13% of middle schools were found to be unrepresentative.
- Admissions screening efforts, except those that screen for language, were found to exacerbate misrepresentation within secondary schools. Meanwhile, residential segregation and school choice policies were found to worsen segregation at the elementary level.
Though racial, ethnic and socioeconomic segregation between districts in New York City and in other urban districts nationwide is well-documented, this study shows segregation within school districts is also a problem. Even within fairly diverse school districts, many schools' student populations were highly racially segregated.
At the same time, these findings also offer education leaders a realistic place to begin integration efforts. Districts 2 and 3 in Manhattan, Districts 13 and 15 in Brooklyn and District 27 in Queens had the largest shares of unrepresentative schools. “These districts would be the place to start if integration efforts were to be targeted where real progress can be made in the short-term,” the authors suggest.
A few of these districts have begun integration efforts. Districts 3 and 15 implemented district-wide diversity plans for middle schools as part of a greater effort by NYC Schools to prioritize in the admissions process students who are English Language Learners (ELLs) or Emerging Multilingual Learners (EMLs), are in the child welfare system, are in temporary housing or are low income.
Brooklyn’s District 15 also overturned its competitive middle school admissions process, creating an open admissions method that prioritizes students from low-income families, students in temporary housing and ELLs.