What if… schools selected their students to reflect the racial and economic diversity of the city?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S., with no majority racial or ethnic group. Yet the city’s students remain divided by income and race; by some measures, New York has the most segregated school system in the nation. While elementary school enrollment is largely determined by where students live, schools are even more segregated than neighborhoods, due to how school zones are drawn, the resources parents bring to bear to influence where their children attend school, and other factors.

Since selecting students based solely on the basis of race could invite a constitutional challenge, the city is starting to promote integration by allowing some schools to reserve spots for low-income students. But many argue that this alone is unlikely to have a big impact on the problem.

Should public school administrators doing more to desegregate its public schools? What are the advantages and drawbacks of the city being more deliberate in creating a diverse mix of students in its classrooms?

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