Behind the Headline: Integrating a School, One Child at a Time

By 06/18/2012

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On Top of the News
Integrating a School, One Child at a Time
New York Times| June 17, 2012

Behind the Headline
Is Desegregation Dead?
Education Next | Fall 2010

In an article that appeared in Sunday’s New York Times, Liz Robbins looks at what’s happening in four Brooklyn elementary schools that won a federal grant to promote desegregation. The schools are located in Williamsburg, a rapidly gentrifying part of Brooklyn. The grant requires that the schools reduce the percentage of Hispanic students by attracting white, Asian, and black students from outside of the neighborhood.

Robbins sums up, “Today, as the Williamsburg schools show, integration is an uneven process at best, hampered by geography, legal limits and, critics say, a lack of ideological commitment from the city.” (Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says “I am focused on having high-quality schools in all neighborhoods. That’s the ultimate civil rights policy.”)

In a forum that was published in the Fall 2010 issue of Ed Next, “Is Desegregation Dead?” Susan Eaton and Steven Rivkin discuss the state of the desegregation movement and what it has accomplished.

In the Spring 2005 issue of Ed Next, Christina Rossel wondered what ever happened to magnet schools.

Comment on this article
  • Rochelle W. says:

    Integration should be a matter of choice and opportunity, not mandate. Urban schools and communities across the country were actually destroyed to achieve (forced) integration. The benefits lost by the dissolution of community schools–even those in so-called disadvantaged, urban communities–were never fully analyzed or even anticipated. The consequences–urban blight/flight and tax base erosion; more underperforming schools and undereducated children than during the 1950s; schools now more segregated than in the 1950s; and young people with little authentic understanding and tolerance of, or appreciation for, persons unlike themselves. School integration must be driven by choice, complemented by open access. The goal should be to ensure that every school within districts, and even across districts, has enough quality, diverse, relevant learning options for students. Those options should be available to all families— and granted on a first come, first served basis.

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