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July 25, 2018
After a battle to integrate middle schools, parents turn their attention to Harlem
Along a stretch of brick wall at P.S. 180 Hugo Newman, a massive mural proclaims “Young, gifted, and Harlem.” The sunny…
sorting the students
May 30, 2018
Carranza didn’t expect ‘screening’ comments to create such an uproar
“I didn’t know it was going to be such a big deal.”
Compare and Contrast
May 24, 2018
Comparing the Upper West Side and Harlem integration plans: Here’s how schools, admissions offers could change
Following an uproar over a plan to integrate Manhattan’s District 3, the Department of Education introduced three more proposals to change the makeup…
The big sort
May 14, 2018
Caught in the Upper West Side integration debate, educators at this middle school say test scores don’t tell the whole story
When Nicole Feliciano wrapped up a lesson this week on civil rights, she asked her eighth-graders at West Prep Academy to write down their questions…
May 7, 2018
Exclusive Center School will join Upper West Side integration push, education department says
One of the most exclusive schools on the Upper West Side could be included in a controversial integration plan after all — just…
May 3, 2018
Watching the Manhattan desegregation debate unfold, a Brooklyn mom amasses support for bigger changes
With her petition against screened middle schools, Kelly Bare said she wanted "to put out an antidote to some of the ugliness that’s out there."
May 1, 2018
I taught at a nonselective New York City school. Your assumptions about low-scoring students are wrong.
What is it that children of wealthy parents have earned that kids who score a level 2 on the state exam with no extra help have not?
April 30, 2018
Chancellor Carranza apologizes for not tweeting more carefully, but won’t back down on desegregation
"Here I am in my first month actually engaging in this conversation.”
April 27, 2018
A Chalkbeat cheat sheet: What’s going on with Upper West Side desegregation
Here’s a primer to the controversy that suddenly has everyone talking about state tests, middle school admissions, and privilege.
April 27, 2018
With a late-night tweet, Carranza steps into emotional and divisive Upper West Side desegregation fight
Carranza didn't add any commentary of his own to the message generated automatically by the site that amplified the NY1 video. He didn't have to.
April 25, 2018
Push to curb academic segregation on the Upper West Side generates a backlash — and support
“We are not offering all students equity and access across all the district,” said District 3 Superintendent Ilene Altschul. “We need to do something.”
October 25, 2017
Teacher, school finance lawyer face off to represent east Denver on school board
A policy prohibits district employees, including teachers, from serving on the board.
August 30, 2017
Will a brand new building help integrate an Upper West Side school? P.S. 191 is about to find out.
Manhattan’s P.S. 191 will start the school year with a new building, a new name and new educational programs. The question is whether…
May 12, 2017
Upper West Side parents gather to tackle middle-school integration
Community members on the Upper West Side are turning their attention to another integration battlefield: middle schools.
May 11, 2017
Mayor de Blasio: I can’t ‘wipe away 400 years of American history’ in diversifying schools
After promising a “bigger vision” for creating more diverse schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday seemed to temper expectations for the city’s soon-to-be-released plan…
April 6, 2017
‘Harlem diaspora’ sends local children to 176 different public schools, report finds
Harlem elementary schools are “hemorrhaging” students, according to a new report by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.
on the move
January 19, 2017
City panel approves controversial move of P.S. 452, part of Upper West Side rezoning
The debate over moving P.S. 452 fueled a larger conversation about school segregation on the Upper West Side.
December 13, 2016
After a school in Harlem is saved, parents and community leaders turn their attention to broader issues
A proposal to merge P.S. 241 STEM Institute in Manhattan has kicked off a broader conversation about school equity in District 3.
December 7, 2016
The fight continues: Parents file appeal in Upper West Side school rezoning
The ongoing fight has come to symbolize a dual problem: deep segregation in many schools, and a zoning process that makes it hard, if not impossible, to integrate them.
November 22, 2016
Finally, a school rezoning plan for the Upper West Side is approved
After months of debate, the District 3 Community Education Council approved a controversial plan to alleviate overcrowding and integrate schools on the Upper West Side.
November 22, 2016
Lawyer for Lincoln Towers residents blasts Department of Education over Upper West Side rezoning
In a letter sent to city officials, the attorney, Matthew Delforte, wrote that the parents still have concerns about the process and the data used to draw up the plan.
October 24, 2016
Parent group says Upper West Side rezoning proposal violated open meetings laws
A parent coalition says the Community Education Council in District 3 did not have authority to draft its own rezoning proposal.
October 19, 2016
Drowned out of Upper West Side rezoning battle, desegregation advocates fight for a broader plan
"We don’t want it to be taken off the table. We don’t want rezoning to be the end result.”
October 18, 2016
Rebuffing city’s plans, local education council offers its own vision for controversial Upper West Side rezoning
“We intend to control our own fate. We will not have a plan dictated to us by the Department of Education, by City Hall."
October 17, 2016
School merger proposal would cap long struggle for STEM Institute in Harlem
The city Department of Education is proposing a merger of P.S. 241 STEM Institute of Manhattan into P.S. 76 A. Philip Randolph, about eight blocks away in Harlem.
October 5, 2016
Five New York City school districts putting integration on the map
As the school year ramps up, so do plans to integrate New York City classrooms.
September 29, 2016
New diversity plans, same disputes in Upper West Side school rezoning
One school may implement a diversity plan for admissions, but parents who would be zoned out of high-performing P.S. 199 continue to push back.
September 19, 2016
Upper West Side parents still fighting rezoning plan that would diversify schools
The city has drawn up another plan to relieve overcrowding and integrate Upper West Side schools, but parents still need to be won over.
hello from the other side
July 21, 2016
Advocates seize chance to push for Upper West Side desegregation, but face stiff resistance
As a zoning debate highlights the divides among Upper West Side schools, advocates are pushing for district-wide desegregation.
June 21, 2016
Behind the scenes, parents mount coordinated campaign to block Upper West Side rezoning
On June 3, parents at P.S. 452 on the Upper West Side received an online survey about the city’s plan to move their school from…
June 16, 2016
Latest Upper West Side rezoning battle renews debate over how best to integrate schools
This week marked the second time in less than a year that parents on the sharply segregated Upper West Side gathered in droves to protest…
sorting the students
June 10, 2016
Upper West Side superintendent floats integration plan to reduce the class divide among middle schools
The idea for is for every middle school to enroll at least 30 percent low-income students, in a district where some enroll 10 percent and others nearly 100 percent.
sorting the students
Updated March 1, 2016
On the Upper West Side, a radical plan to desegregate schools faces an uphill climb
Advocates want to abolish the school zones in Manhattan's District 3 in a bid to boost diversity, but some parent leaders are skeptical.
A tale of two schools
October 19, 2015
For two sharply divided Manhattan schools, an uncertain path to integration
P.S. 191 and 199 are neighbors with glaring disparities. Competing plans could help change that — but not everyone is on board.
November 24, 2010
As charter apps trickle in, Upper West Side debates demand
Hundreds of families have submitted early-bird applications to the newest charter school in Eva Moskowitz's chain, which so far lacks a home but has seen no shortage of controversy. Upper West Success Academy reports that 357 families have filed applications since the school was approved last month. Two-thirds live in District 3, the diverse and relatively wealthy district stretching from 59th Street to 122nd Street on the West Side of Manhattan where the school will be located. "Given that every great elementary school on the Upper West Side is overcrowded and the terrific private schools cost more than $30,000 a year, it's hardly surprising that Upper West Side parents are lining up for a high performing charter school," Moskowitz said in a statement. Her organization is also touting the results of a phone poll that found 70 percent of neighborhood parents would support the school opening in the area. When told that the school would share space with another public school, support dropped to 59 percent. But applications from 269 district families and a poll of 300 households does not "demand" make, according to parent leaders who are pushing back against the school. They say the city would do better to invest in existing schools rather than to carve out space for a charter school.
May 6, 2009
A protest as hundreds of kindergarten hopefuls sit on waiting lists
Parents and elected officials gathered at City Hall today to protest crowding in Manhattan that has led to long waiting lists for public school kindergartens. (GothamSchools ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/28995913@N07/3508423223/##Flickr##) A crowd of shell-shocked parents gathered outside City Hall this afternoon, angry that the Department of Education hasn’t found seats for the hundreds of rising kindergarten students who have been placed on waiting lists for next year at their local public schools. The waiting lists, which include 273 names in just two Manhattan districts, mean that families in baby- and building-boom areas like the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and Greenwich Village could find themselves unable to secure a spot at their neighborhood school's kindergarten. The lists attracted extra attention yesterday after news leaked that the city was considering closing or relocating prekindergarten classes at two Greenwich Village elementary schools, PS 3 and PS 41, in order to make room for kindergartners. Parents at the rally said they felt confused and powerless. "As far as I can tell, I don't have a Plan B — other than home school or moving to Jersey," said Jay Douglas, whose 4-year-old son is number 42 on a waiting list for PS 187 in Washington Heights. Elected officials joined the parents at City Hall today to criticize city officials for not planning ahead to meet the demand for spots in public schools. Scott Stringer, Manhattan's borough president, said the DOE is "closing its eyes" to a widespread capacity problem, warning that taxpaying parents will pack up and move, taking their kids and tax dollars somewhere else if they can't enroll in their local public school.
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.
November 20, 2008
Despite a rally and walkout, UWS parent council votes to rezone
An adapted Obama poster used at last night's District 3 diversity rally. An Upper West Side parent council last night put its stamp of approval on a plan to ease overcrowding in public schools there. But opponents of the plan, who have been criticizing it for the past two months as stamping out diversity, kept up their fight until the very end. The council's resolution means that two schools, the Anderson School and the Center School, will relocate to other buildings in the neighborhood next fall. In 2010, people living in three small sections of the neighborhood will be reassigned to different elementary schools. All that remains now is for the Department of Education to execute the changes. Opponents of the resolution included both Center School parents who don't want their school to move and advocates of diversity, who think the resolution will make schools in the area more segregated. Some of those parents rallied before the meeting yesterday. (View a video from last night's rally, during which speakers condemn Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and swear to keep fighting for diversity. Yes, "Sex and the City" actress Cynthia Nixon appears, but unlike in last week's video, she has a non-speaking role.) Before the council approved the resolution in a 7-1 vote, dozens of parents, neighborhood residents, and elected officials delivered one-minute speeches expressing their support or opposition. The speeches lasted more than an hour.
November 19, 2008
Tonight, a rally in District 3 to support diversity, oppose rezoning
PHOTO: Scott ElliottA few people protested outside last week's CEC meeting; more are expected tonight. A rally this evening against a parent council resolution to relieve overcrowding in Upper West Side schools will try to move beyond a bitter fight between two schools to focus on the broader issue of diversity in the neighborhood's schools. The Community Education Council for District 3 voted last week after a contentious meeting to introduce a resolution that would move two schools and reduce the zones of two others. Tonight, six members of CEC 3 must vote to pass the resolution. Before tonight's CEC vote, a rally will give voice to parents who say the resolution, if enacted, would reduce diversity in several of the neighborhood's school buildings. "Is this what we want in our city?" asked Jeanne Kerwin, a parent who is one of the organizers of tonight's rally. At stake is the fate of the entire two-month-long rezoning process. If the resolution is defeated tonight, the Department of Education, not parents, will decide how to deal with the space crunch at neighborhood schools.
November 18, 2008
District 3 missed chance to talk about equity, comm. group says
The group that proposed eliminating zone lines to combat segregation in District 3 elementary schools isn't happy with a parent council's resolution about rezoning the district. The Community Education Council for District 3 decided last week to take a simple approach to rezoning, recommending that two schools move to new buildings and that zone lines around two others be tweaked. Some in the community had opposed the plan on the grounds that the changes would make school buildings more segregated. But the CEC said it wasn't permitted to consider diversity in the rezoning discussion. In a public letter, the Center for Immigrant Families, which has long pushed for more integrated schools in the district, says it is "beyond comprehension" that the CEC's resolution lacks "even a mention of what is equitable or fair."
November 14, 2008
Backing her kid’s school, actress Cynthia Nixon joins UWS war
Cynthia Nixon — actress, Alliance for Quality Education spokeswoman, and parent at the school — was shouted down during a heated public comment session.
November 12, 2008
Pushed to relocate, Center School parents put up a fight
This flier, which disparages Center School Principal Elaine Schwartz, appeared on the building's fence and around the neighborhood. A tiny middle school on the Upper West Side that has flown under the radar for much of its 26-year history has become the object of intense scrutiny in recent weeks as its principal and parents threaten to derail the neighborhood's plans to alleviate overcrowding. A plan proposed last week by the Community Education Council for District 3 would require the school to move from its longtime home to a larger space several blocks away. That plan, and the Department of Education's response to it, will be the topic of a CEC 3 meeting tonight. But Center School Principal Elaine Schwartz has opposed relocating since the DOE originally suggested the idea in September, and the school's loyal parents have lined up behind her. "We are totally unified," parent Alan Madison told me. "When it comes to the education of our children, we listen to [Schwartz]." Schwartz, the 26-year-old school's founding principal, told the New York Times last week that she opposed a move under any circumstances. As Schwartz and her school have dug their feet in, tension has wracked the PS 199 building on West 70 Street, where the Center School is the sole occupant of the top floor.
November 6, 2008
In District 3, advocates say zone lines should disappear
CIF's 2003 report about segregation in District 3 Rather than tinkering with zone lines, District 3 should do away with school zones altogether and instead institute a near-random lottery for school placement, advocates for the district's immigrant families say. The Center for Immigrant Families says students should be assigned to schools not because of where they live but by a lottery that takes into socioeconomic status into account. This type of admissions system, called a "controlled choice" program, would be radical for New York City. Cambridge, Mass., has had a controlled choice policy in place for more than two decades. Some parents in Cambridge say the policy is too formulaic and are advocating for a return to neighborhood schools, the Harvard Crimson recently reported. In a letter sent yesterday to the Community Education Council for District 3, CIF argues that the district's residential segregation requires attention: "The catchment seats increasingly reflect the gentrifying reality of our neighborhoods and further cement segregation."
November 6, 2008
In District 3, parent council recommends only minor rezoning
The New York Times reported yesterday that anxiety over an impending rezoning of the Upper West Side had families frantic about whether their assigned neighborhood school could change overnight. Last night, the parent group that ultimately gets to approve any change took a step toward eliminating the worries, recommending a scaled-down rezoning that would affect only a small number of families. Since the Department of Education first proposed rezoning the area in late September, some Upper West Side families feared being shut out of their neighborhood school, and at least one school, the Center School, railed against a plan that would require a handful of schools to relocate. In a meeting last night that was closed to public comment, the Community Education Council for District 3 recommended that the Center School vacate the building it shares with PS 199, in which classes must be held in hallways, and move seven blocks south to PS 9. Space would be made available there by relocating the citywide gifted school, Anderson, to a middle school building on West 77 Street. Center School administrators and parents oppose such a move, saying that the school has thrived in its current location, despite its tight quarters.
November 5, 2008
What to look for in the city's new school construction plan
Sandwiched between exciting election news and distressing budget news, the mayor and chancellor today will release their proposal for the city schools’ next…
October 13, 2008
CEC 3 to DOE: On rezoning, try, try again
Two weeks after the DOE first presented the Community Education Council for District 3 with two proposals for rezoning the Upper West Side, CEC 3 has concluded that both are too flawed to vote on. Maps of the DOE's two rezoning proposals In its official response, which CEC 3 released Friday along with responses from individual schools, CEC 3 asks for a new plan based on official school capacity data, a revised conception of school zones, and an expectation of class size reduction. The densely packed response also asks the DOE to consider leasing as a short-term solution to the district's space needs and emphasizes the unique identities of the district's special programs, the advantages of grandfathering in any new zones so that siblings are kept together, and the need for a new school building. An important question, the CEC argues, is whether the time is even right for rezoning, given the DOE's own self-proclaimed constraints in planning for future space needs. From the response: You have said that DOE does not plan for children until they register for seats. If the DOE is unable to anticipate how many children will be yielded by new construction, then perhaps this period of massive new construction in our district is NOT the best time to be redrawing zone lines. The council will address the issue further at its public meeting Wednesday. CEC 3's entire response is worth a read — it's a useful summary of many of the issues districts and neighborhoods face when trying to negotiate an overcrowding plan with the DOE. The response is posted in full after the jump.
September 26, 2008
District 3 rezoning update: Anderson officials are open to relocation
On Wednesday, the Community Education Council for District 3 held a special meeting to hear comments from community members about the rezoning proposal…
September 22, 2008
Relocation, new zones loom for popular Upper West Side schools
Proposed new zones for the Upper West Side, with (left) and without school relocations District 3 parent leaders so worried that the DOE’s Upper West Side rezoning plan would anger parents that they prefaced the plan’s first public airing last week with a stern call for civility. The atmosphere remained civil, but the packed auditorium at the Joan of Arc complex on 93rd Street was filled with strong reactions from applause to boos as department officials visiting the Community Education Council for District 3 laid out a proposal that could rezone as many as 30 percent of families living between 59th and Morningside Park — or augur an end to the district’s broad array of “choice” programs, including gifted and talented and dual language programs. Inspired by parents and elected officials in neighboring District 2, CEC 3 this spring launched a committee to lobby for new schools to relieve the district’s pervasive overcrowding and accommodate families moving into the area's many residential buildings under construction. But DOE officials said last week that a “more comprehensive, more immediate set of solutions” — in the form of rezoning to take effect in the fall of 2009 — could bring the district’s schools well below capacity without a new school.
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