WHY IS SCHOOL DESEGREGATION IMPORTANT?
By Wright for NYC 2020 Campaign Team
Six years into de Blasio’s mayoralty and New York City schools remain the most segregated in the country. The mayor and his two school chancellors, Carmen Farina and Richard Carranza, have proposed a series of fairly tepid, incremental initial reforms.
De Blasio did empanel the School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG), which released two sets of recommendations, with the administration adopting most of the first, more mild set. The second set, full of more controversial proposals, including related to the city’s admissions policies and gifted and talented programming, was released in August of 2019 and de Blasio has yet to give them more than an initial nod, saying that there would be an extensive public conversation to come in order to engage parents and other stakeholders in crafting reforms.
De Blasio and Carranza separately proposed scrapping the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), which determines admission at the eight “elite” high schools in the city. But that requires action by the state, where the proposal has not been warmly received. Even locally, elected officials and parent groups have complained that his proposal pits minorities against each other and will not have the intended effect.
De Blasio announced he was backing off of his proposal, which included a new system for more diversified admittance to the specialized schools, where black and Latino students are severely underrepresented, and would come up with something new this year. That has yet to happen and these challenges may very well be one to undertake by the new mayor.