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sorting the students
July 13, 2016
Brooklyn’s middle schools are highly segregated — but they don’t have to be. How a series of choices has deepened the divide
Stark segregation — by race, class, and ability — undercuts the promise of a Brooklyn district’s choice-based enrollment system.
May 11, 2016
Some of Brooklyn’s most sought-after middle schools will no longer see how applicants rank them
District 15 in Brooklyn is moving to a "blind ranking" system, where middle schools will not see where families listed them on their applications.
raise your hand
December 18, 2015
Raise Your Hand: Which schools reflect the diversity of New York City?
Mishi Faruqee is in a bind that many middle-class parents find themselves in: tracking down a top-rated school with a diverse mix of students is easier said than done.
August 12, 2015
The city’s opt-out movement, by the numbers
Brooklyn's District 15 led the way, followed by Manhattan's District 1 and Staten Island's 31. Top schools included Brooklyn's P.S. 146, P.S. 321, and P.S. 261.
June 6, 2014
Brooklyn parent leaders look for political support on school diversity
Frustrated by statistics that show decreasing diversity in their district’s schools, a group of parents in Brooklyn are calling on the city to prioritize school diversity.
brown at 60
May 14, 2014
In speech on school integration, King takes a dig at the city's enrollment rules
In a speech commemorating the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board, State Education Commissioner John King noted that district boundaries and school zones across the state and in New York City have been drawn in a way that "actually foster segregation by class."
February 6, 2014
Fariña signals she's open to untying test scores and promotion decisions
Updated: Speaking to parents in Brooklyn Wednesday night, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña signaled that she might change yet another Bloomberg-era policy: the city's ban on "social promotion."
August 29, 2013
P.S. 133′s innovative admissions model aims for more diversity
Principal Heather Foster-Mann talks to students and parents at P.S. 133. One day after the country honored the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, city officials cut the ribbon on a school building in Brooklyn constructed to advance a new model for school integration. P.S. 133 in Park Slope opened the doors of its $66 million building this morning to an eager and enthusiastic group of parents and students. Along with the 45 classrooms, shiny gymnasium, and an auditorium that incorporates the school's historic facade, P.S. 133 also got a brand-new admissions policy. Instead of drawing students from its old zone in District 13, the school accepts students from across all of District 13 and adjoining District 15. A third of seats are earmarked for students from District 13, and 30 percent of kindergarten seats are reserved for English language learners and children who quality for free or reduced-price lunch. It's the first time the Bloomberg administration has engineered a specific mix of students based on socioeconomic status and English proficiency. The admissions process also marks a collaboration between two districts with markedly different demographics.
August 23, 2013
Quinn targets a de Blasio selling point: his record with parents
As a school board member, public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, pictured here with ex-state education commissioner David Steiner, once supported a superintendent who resigned amid charges of mismanagement. Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign is unearthing an old education scandal to take aim at Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, the current Democratic frontrunner in the race to replace Mayor Bloomberg. In a press release, the Quinn campaign compiled news coverage about Frank DeStefano — the superintendent of Brooklyn's District 15 in the late 1990s who ran up a $1.2 million budget deficit — to make the case that de Blasio, then a school board member, allowed the mismanagement to occur. The attack comes as the two are embroiled in bitter fighting over many issues, including the city's support for local hospitals. "What Bill de Blasio says and what Bill de Blasio does are two very different things," Quinn spokesman Mike Morey said in a statement. "While he talks glowingly about his work on his local school board, parents in the district knew de Blasio was only concerned about what was best for Bill de Blasio." There’s no disputing that the scandal, which ended in the district superintendent’s resignation, was a difficult time for the school district where de Blasio got his start in city politics. When GothamSchools looked into the episode earlier this summer, de Blasio declined to speak about it, and his campaign did not respond to requests for comment today. But the story is not as cut and dry as the Quinn campaign suggests.
November 29, 2011
Showdown set for year's first charter school co-location hearing
Many of the attendees who lined up outside Brooklyn Tech for last February's Panel for Educational Policy meeting came to protest the creation of a Success Academy Charter School on the Upper West Side. Back-to-back rallies set for this afternoon augur a contentious co-location hearing for the newest outpost in the Success Charter Network. The creation of Cobble Hill Success Academy, which won approval earlier this year to open next fall in Brooklyn's District 13, has sparked conflict in District 15, the location of the school's proposed site. Advocates and critics of the city's plan to co-locate the charter school with two secondary schools and a special education program will lay out their cases during tonight's public hearing — and beforehand, in rallies set for outside the Baltic Street building. The public hearing is the first of the year and ushers in a season of rancorous co-location hearings. Some families have lamented crowding in high-performing local elementary schools and said they would appreciate new options. But others say they are worried that the new school would strain resources at the proposed site without effectively serving the high-needs populations it was originally intended to serve. Cobble Hill Success's promise to serve low-income, immigrant families in District 13 was a boon to its application, according to Pedro Noguera, an education professor who green-lighted the school's original application as a member of the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute. "We have tried to take the position recently that we can put charter schools where there is clearly a need for better schools for kids, so targeting the more disadvantaged communities. We have also seen the areas that are a saturation of charter schools, so we want to encourage them to open in areas that have a high need and aren't being served," said Noguera, who will be participating in an education debate this evening in the West Village. "A school in Cobble Hill clearly does not meet that criteria."
October 7, 2011
Cobble Hill parents say they would consider a charter school
Parents in Brooklyn's Cobble Hill neighborhood say they're happy with their children's schools but wouldn't mind seeing a charter school move in. Charter school operator Eva Moskowitz yesterday announced plans to open a new school in the Success Charter Network in Cobble Hill, an affluent, tree-lined neighborhood whose public schools are flush with parent involvement and, in some cases, parent donations. It would be Moskowitz's second foray into a middle-class neighborhood after pushing through a contentious plan to open a school on the Upper West Side this year. In District 15, Cobble Hill's district, 1,500 parents signed a petition supporting the charter school's bid to open, according to a press release from Success Charter Network. But parents I spoke to today at a coffee shop and housing project in the neighborhood said they hadn't heard of Moskowitz and weren't aware that space-sharing was a likely scenario — or that co-location fights can turn ugly. Still, they said that the neighborhood could use more school options, no matter what they are. "If there's a good school set up in the neighborhood and has a program my kid would like, I'd consider it," said Madely Rodriguez, a P.S. 29 parent who was sipping coffee outside Cafe Pedlar, a magnet for neighborhood parents after morning drop-off.
July 15, 2009
A two-school solution in Park Slope has critics crying racism
A group of Park Slope parents is in an uproar over the city's plan to build a new school building that they say will house two "separate but equal" elementary schools. But schools officials say the plan is exactly how community leaders wanted it. The plan would replace PS 133's century-old school building in North Park Slope with a brand new building on the same site. The catch is that the shiny new space will house not just PS 133 but also a new school whose students are likely to be whiter, more affluent, and better prepared for school. That's because in an unusual arrangement, the two schools will belong to different districts. PS 133 is located in District 13, which stretches from Brooklyn Heights to Crown Heights. The second school, slated to be twice the size of PS 133, will be part of District 15, which begins just blocks away, and is intended to reduce crowding at PS 321, which is 62 percent white and has only a small fraction of students eligible for free lunch. On average, students in District 15 perform better on state tests than students in District 13. Parents and community activists say the presence of two separate schools with different demographic compositions would amount to a regression to the days of racial segregation. Via e-mail and Twitter, they are bombarding schools officials and City Council members from the area with requests for a different use of the new building. "This is an issue that demands creative leadership from you and Councilman [Bill] DeBlasio," a District 13 mother, Paget Walker, wrote to City Councilman David Yassky.
December 9, 2008
Elected parent leaders learned of school closure by e-mail
It's déjà vu all over again for parents as the Department of Education reveals its latest round of school closures. Last year, City Council members complained that the DOE announced school closures without first discussing them with community members. Like other parent advocates, council members argued that the DOE's actions were in violation of the state's education law, which requires the chancellor to "consult with the affected community district education council" before closing or substantially changing schools. But despite the outcry, the district-wide community education councils aren't any more in the loop this year. "The CECs were notified the same day the staff was told" at each school, DOE spokeswoman Melody Meyer told me today. For District 15's CEC, at least, that notification came in the form of an e-mail yesterday afternoon, after the principal of PS 27 had already been told her school would be closing in June, according to the council's president, Jennifer Stringfellow.
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