Report: NY schools are most racially segregated

Report's author: "To create a whole new system that's even worse than what you've got really takes some effort"
Associated Press
Mar 27, 2014

New York state has the most segregated public schools in the nation, with many black and Latino students attending schools with virtually no white classmates, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles looks at enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010.

In New York City, the largest school system in the U.S. with 1.1 million pupils, the study notes that many of the charter schools created over the last dozen years are among the least diverse of all, with less than 1 percent white enrollment at 73 percent of charter schools.

"To create a whole new system that's even worse than what you've got really takes some effort," said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an author of the report.

He and his fellow researchers say segregation has the effect of concentrating black and Latino students in schools with high ratios of poor students compared with the statewide average. Black and Latino students who attend schools that are integrated by race and income level perform significantly better than their peers in segregated schools, the authors note.

The study suggests that New York's segregation is largely due to housing patterns, because housing and school segregation are correlated, but that it could be mitigated through policies intended to promote diversity.

"In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation — no Southern state comes close to New York," Orfield said.

Other states with highly segregated schools include Illinois, Michigan and California, according to the Civil Rights Project.

One way to measure segregation is the exposure of students to classmates from other racial groups. About half of New York state's public school students are white, but during the 2009-10 school year the average black student in New York went to a school where 17.7 percent of the students are white.

The corresponding number for Illinois was 18.8 percent, and for California it was 18.9 percent.

Orfield said the Civil Rights Project is preparing reports on several other states, including an in-depth look at California.

A report on nationwide trends in segregation is planned to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling on May 17. The court ruled in that landmark case that establishing separate public schools for black and white students was unconstitutional.

The report released Wednesday noted that about half of New York state's public school students were from low-income families in 2010 but the typical black or Latino student attended a school where close to 70 percent of classmates were low-income. The typical white student went to a school where just 30 percent of classmates were low-income.

"For New York to have a favorable multiracial future both socially and economically, it is absolutely urgent that its leaders and citizens understand both the values of diversity and the harms of inequality," the study's authors say.

New York City Department of Education spokesman Devon Puglia did not address the findings of the report, but said, "We believe in diverse classrooms in which students interact and grow through personal relationships with those of different backgrounds." The district is roughly 40 percent Hispanic, 30 percent black, 15 percent white and 15 percent Asian.

State Education Commissioner John King called the findings troubling and added, "The department has supported over the years various initiatives aimed at improving school integration and school socioeconomic integration, but there's clearly a lot of work that needs to be done — not just in New York but around the country."

The report, which used U.S. Department of Education statistics, also noted increasing segregation in upstate cities including Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.

In the Syracuse metropolitan area, the report says, the number of black students increased by 4 percent between 1989 and 2010, but black isolation increased dramatically. In 1989 the typical black student went to a school that was one-third black, but in 2010 the typical black student went to a school that was nearly half black.

Pedro Noguera, a New York University education professor, said it's disturbing that policy makers have focused so little on racial integration in recent years.

"We've been talking about reforming schools in New York and elsewhere. This issue was never addressed," Noguera said.

He added, "When you concentrate the neediest kids together in under-resourced schools they tend not to do very well."

The UCLA report recommends that state and local education agencies develop policies aimed at reducing racial isolation and promoting diverse schools.

The report suggests voluntary desegregation programs in upstate cities like Rochester, where low-income populations are surrounded by more affluent communities.

In New York City, Orfield said, a system of unscreened "choice" schools would foster more diversity than the current New York City high school choice system, which sees entrance tests at top schools excluding most black and Latino students.

"If you just offer choice, the people with the best information will get into the best schools," he said.

Requel Russell-George, the mother of two students at Public School 169 in the Bronx, which has about 75 percent black and 19 percent Latino students, said she feels the school is "excellent" but she would like to see more diversity.

"I do feel that it would be great for our children and other children to be exposed to other cultures," Russell-George said. "You're more knowledgeable and things are not mysterious to you as you get older."



Didn't we try bussing students decades ago ?

Don't you apply to receive admission to charter schools ? Parents must not have thought this to be a problem when they put their children in these charter school. Maybe these charter schools offer more positive benefits that outweigh this issue.


How can this be? Not in the liberal mecca of New York. I guess all those rich white liberals don't like black people after all. What Governor Cuomo meant when he said that conservatives weren't welcome in his state and that they should leave is that conservatives should leave...and take the black folks with them.


Lets not forget DiBlasio wanting to shut down charter schools which are comprised of mostly black kids, that are getting a better education. Union payback you know.


Link for that info, please?


google it many stories have been done on this.


Thank you.


KnuckleDragger: Nowhere in the article does it mention politics. The problem was caused by both liberals and conservatives.

However, if you DO want to play that game, I'll point out that New York City's most recent mayor was conservative Michael Bloomberg, who was in office when everything mentioned in the article occurred.

Trust me, NO ONE is looking to the Republican Party for any ideas on how to fix Education. All they do is HURT Education by continually voting to reduce funding, or with stupid unfunded mandates like "No Child Left Behind" (which, of course, left millions of American children behind).


coaster even cnn reported that this move was political payback to the teachers unions. It is what it is, I only posted a couple of many articles that was done on this, please feel free to look for yourself.


"stupid unfunded mandates" That's funny coming from someone who supports a party that does nothing BUT write legislation that is unfunded. Whats your solution? Let me guess spend more to help the teachers union so more of you ilk can get into office. Go pander your idiocy to a different country, The Citizens are waking up to it.
Liberalism is a mental disorder that Coaster and its ilk wants taught in school.


As I said It is a mental disorder. Denial is part of the problem if the mentally disabled refuse to seek help. PLease seek help.
BTW, Liberals quit wanting "Liberty and freedom" Years ago, All you folks want is a free lunch and someone to ram it down your throat.

The Big Dog's back

dummygan, fall off the wagon again?


I did not know you had a Phd. You should educate yourself. You look foolish!


The truth is painful to you and dog. Now run along and get some prozac or whatever you people take these days.


Re: "However, if you DO want to play that game, I'll point out that New York City's most recent mayor was conservative Michael Bloomberg"

Here is what a non-wacco, non left wingnut wiki say about Bloomberg:

Political stands

Some of the policies Bloomberg advocates parallel those of either the Democratic or the Republican party platform. He is socially liberal or progressive, supporting abortion rights, same-sex marriage, some gun control measures, and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, for example. On economics, foreign, and domestic issues, Bloomberg tends to be conservative. He opposed a timeline for withdrawal from the Iraq War, and criticized those who favored one. Economically, he supports government involvement in issues such as public welfare, while being strongly in favor of free trade, pro-business, and describing himself as a fiscal conservative because he balanced the city's budget.[72] Environmentally, he believes that man-made climate change is real. Bloomberg has been cited for not allowing many emergency officials who responded to the September 11, 2001, attacks to attend the tenth anniversary observation of that day.[73] He also is at odds with many around the United States for not inviting any clergy to the ceremony marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.[74]

Social issues
Bloomberg supports abortion rights, stating: "Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted. On this issue, you're either with us or against us." He has criticized pro-choice politicians who support pro-life candidates.[75]

Bloomberg supports governmental funding for embryonic stem cell research, calling the Republican position on the issue "insanity".[76] He also supports same-sex marriage with the rationale that "government shouldn't tell you whom to marry."[77]

Bloomberg supports the strict drug laws of New York City. He has stated that he smoked marijuana in the past, and was quoted in a 2001 interview as saying "You bet I did. I enjoyed it." This led to a reported $500,000 advertising campaign by NORML, featuring his image and the quote. Bloomberg stated in a 2002 interview that he regrets the remark and does not believe that marijuana should be decriminalized.[78]

Only a left wing nut would describe the above person as "conservative". I would say he was more Libertarian, or socially progressive and fiscially conservative. But wingnuts have their own views, mostly the rest of the people have to walk in lockstep or they are all wrong in the wingnut world. As was said in the third paragraph of the above wiki he was a democrat before he ran for office. But we also have seen what left wingnuts think and how they think. Thanks for being my example coaster !

The Big Dog's back

Spoken like a true right wingnut.


" I would say he was more Libertarian, or socially progressive and fiscially conservative."

WHAT????? He's as leftist as they come. He's a founding father of the nannystate. Nor is he fiscally conservative - he's just rich, which is not the same.

Erie County Resident

toasterfan you say Bloomberg was a conservative?
Holy crap what the h*ll have you been smoking?
Bloomberg leans so far to the left he almost falls off the liberal wagon.

The Big Dog's back

Just goes to show you business owners aren't good leaders.


So you would prefer another B movie star? We are now seeing that comunity organizers suck at being a leader.


No, workers like you have all the answers. No need to lead.


They may or may not be, but he's YOUR guy.


^^And today's ignorant post of the day award goes to...


Bloomberg a conservative? In what universe? Let us know when you sober up and return to reality.


This really is no big deal. Geography probably has a lot to do with this!


Wow we agree for once, demographics play a huge part is this.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I find the headline to be dishonest. Segregation implies a purposefully done human element. As in someone behind some desk is just assigning only one group or another to a school. That's ridiculous. I won't even bemoan that we are all humans and the color of our skin is irrelevant and shouldn't be the focus of things. But if a school is located in an area primarily inhabited by one group or another...this happens. Naturally. You can't live in Siberia and be sick of all the snow, not understanding why it is all around you.

Unless they are implying importing some white kids, Pacific islanders, or something else there is no way to cure this "segregation" that isn't segregation. But what upsets me the most is this:

"...the current New York City high school choice system, which sees entrance tests at top schools excluding most black and Latino students."

Unless the tests specifically screen you based on your pigmentation you can't just say that. Why is it that "black and Latino students" are excluding "most" of that group? Is it because they are failing the educational requirements to attend a "top" school? If so, why? Because of their skin? Is that the only reason they aren't testing into these places?

This article seems to go out of its way to paint a picture of a very nice room, one in which the exact outline of an elephant is seen in the corner but not filled in.

The Big Dog's back

So what's your solution for everyone to have a better education?


By treating all students exactly the same no matter the State they are in, whether they are in urban area, surban area, or rural area... Oh wait we have seen that doen't work from the last 60 years. Education is a State issue, or to be more correct, it is a local issue. Most rural problems shouldn't be handled the same as in NYC... and vice versa. IT IS LOCAL, and should be treated that way.

The Big Dog's back

Treating all students the same? What are they, clones?