Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Segregation has been the story of New York City Schools for 50 Years NY Times

Segregation has been the story of New York City Schools for 50 Years  NY Times
by Eliza Shapiro

New York City is starkly different today than it was 50 years ago. It is politically more liberal, and far more racially diverse. Yet one aspect has barely changed:

The city’s public schools remain among the most segregated in the nation.

The deep racial divide was highlighted last week, when eighth graders who had taken the specialized high school admission test received offers to attend New York’s highly selective public high schools. The statistics were striking: out of 895 slots in Stuyvesant High School’s freshman class, only seven were offered to black students.

Racial and socio-economic segregation is even more pronounced in some parts of the city now than it was a five decades ago, though research released in the intervening years has shown that integration benefits all children.
How did we get here? Why have schools remained so segregated for so long? And what can the city’s leaders do to change a fifty-year status quo?

The headquarters of the Citywide Committee for Integration at a church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Today, the same neighborhood is home to a growing movement of black parents who have embraced Afrocentric schools as an alternative to integrated schools. 

The headquarters of the Citywide Committee for Integration at a church in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Today, the same neighborhood is home to a growing movement of black parents who have embraced Afrocentric schools as an alternative to integrated schools.
‘A serious split’

On the morning of Feb. 2, 1964, students hunched over signs they would hoist the following day at a massive school boycott by hundreds of thousands of parents and children. They filled in bubble letters that spelled out “Fight Jim Crow, Boycott Schools,” and “Integration Means Better Schools for All.”

The boycott was led by local civil rights activists frustrated with the city’s fitful efforts to integrate schools, a decade after the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education rendered school segregation unconstitutional.

Then, as now, the strongest supporters of integration believed the city’s efforts hewed too closely to a separate-but-equal ideology that the Supreme Court had struck down.

Backers of integration pushed not only against the mostly white families who staunchly opposed using transportation to achieve integration, but also against moderates who warned of what might happen if activists pushed families too far.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Can Richard Carranza Integrate the Most Segregated School System in the Country? - The Atlantic

Can Richard Carranza Integrate the Most Segregated School System in the Country? - The Atlantic

by Adam Harris

It was just a hair past 7 o’clock in the evening at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, and Richard Carranza was a little late to the party. The cafeteria was bulging with parents, translators, and a handful of staff. The recently minted chancellor of the New York City public-school system had planned to arrive at 6 to talk to a handful of community activists in advance of a town-hall-style meeting. The topic at hand: diversity in the city’s public schools. Or, to put it more pointedly, desegregating them.

The racial makeup of the room was as varied as one might expect for a conversation about desegregation, particularly at such a tense moment in the city’s history. The movement to integrate New York City’s public schools had gotten new energy in recent months, but it was also met with fierce opposition. There have been viral videos of white parents angrily arguing that changing the schools will unfairly harm their children, politicians who backed reforms and then waffled after public pressure, and protests outside of the city’s Education Department punctuated by chants of “Save our schools.” In 2014, a study from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles found that New York State has the most segregated public schools in the country, and that’s driven largely by New York City. Carranza, after just a few months on the job, has quickly positioned himself as the leading voice for integration—and he has his work cut out for him.

The Cutthroat World of Elite Public Schools - The Atlantic

The Cutthroat World of Elite Public Schools - The Atlantic

by Alia Wong

In September 2012, the NAACP’s legal arm joined forces with two other advocacy groups to file a federal civil rights complaint against New York City’s public school system. The issue at hand was—and still is—the city’s nine elite public high schools. Like most public high schools in the city, these schools can choose who attends. But the elite schools are their own animal: Whereas other schools look at a range of criteria to determine students’ eligibility, eight of these nine elite institutions admit applicants based exclusively on how the students score on a rigorous, two-and-a-half-hour-long standardized test.

The SHSAT Controversy in New York's Public High Schools - The Atlantic

The SHSAT Controversy in New York's Public High Schools - The Atlantic: A fight over admissions is making all too clear the value of securing a seat at one of the city’s finest schools.

by Margaret M. Chin (CUNY) and Syed Ali (LIU)

New York City’s specialized high schools are a model of opportunity. They have stellar academic records, and, being public, they are free to attend. Their alumni tend to go on to elite colleges and prestigious careers. Together, the schools serve close to 18,000 students each year, and at eight of the nine schools, admission is determined based on how middle schoolers do on a standardized test.

That test—called the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, or SHSAT—has been the sole admissions criterion for eight of the nine specialized high schools for a couple of decades (and even earlier for some, as mandated by a 1971 law). (The ninth, LaGuardia, is a visual and performing arts school that grants admission based on auditions or portfolio reviews, but not the test.) And earlier this month, New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, put forward a radical proposal: Get rid of the test.
The problem, as he and many others see it, is one of equity: There are very few black and Latino students in the specialized schools. The three highest-status schools—Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech—have black and Latino student populations of 4, 9, and 13 percent, respectively, far below the 70 percent in public schools citywide. What would replace the SHSAT? A system that would admit the top 7 percent of students at every public middle school in the city, which by the mayor’s reckoning would make the collective student body at the specialized high schools roughly 45 percent black and Latino.

Some aren’t pleased with the idea. Their view is that it would kill off a straightforward assessment of merit that applies across schools—the test is an objective measure, they say, and can’t be gamed the way interviews or grades can be, which can reward kids who are richer and/or white.
More specifically, de Blasio’s proposal has upset many Asian parents in particular and a great number of (though certainly not all) alumni and current students. Asian parents’ opposition to scrapping the test probably has something to do with the fact that, as data provided to us by the city’s Department of Education shows, 30 percent of Asian applicants in 2018 received offers to a specialized school, accounting for more than half of all offers. (And Asians are the minority group with the highest poverty rate in the city.) And there are plenty of elite public high schools across the country, but none are test-only, and none have the reputation nationally or internationally that New York’s specialized high schools do; many of the opponents of getting rid of the test believe—probably not incorrectly—that these schools’ reputation is in part a function of the formidable test...

Stuyvesant High School's Chronic Lack of Black Students - The Atlantic

Stuyvesant High School's Chronic Lack of Black Students - The Atlantic: Seven black students were accepted to Stuyvesant High School this year. Five years ago, the number was exactly the same.

The first sentence of the New York Times story was like a blow to the gut. “Seven black students have been offered a chance to start classes at Stuyvesant High School in September,” out of 952 total offers. It was two fewer black students than the nine the school had accepted the year prior in a freshman class of 963 students. In response, a state lawmaker declared that he would redraft a bill he had introduced three years earlier to change the admissions policies at the school; the city reeled. It was 2014.

Gerrymandering and justiciability ~ Parsons


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Seven Black students accepted to Stuyvesant High School


Monday, March 18, 2019

Murphy Signs Bill Curtailing Workplace Nondisclosure Agreements | New Jersey Law Journal

Murphy Signs Bill Curtailing Workplace Nondisclosure Agreements | New Jersey Law Journal: Cases involving discrimination retaliation or harassment including sexual assault and sexual harassment fall under the new law.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed a bill into law that restricts the use of nondisclosure agreements in employment contracts and settlement agreements. Cases involving discrimination, retaliation or harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, fall under the new law.
Such agreements are featured in settlements in which the aggrieved party agrees not to pursue litigation or discuss terms of the deal in exchange for a sum of money. Under typical terms, if the NDA is violated, the other party may sue for injunctive relief to stop the release of information, and recover damages.
But recent high-profile cases involving powerful men in entertainment, politics and media, including Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, put such agreements in the spotlight. Proponents of the bill saw them as tools used to silence accusers and deny them the opportunity to seek justice through the courts.
The new law prohibits provisions in employment contracts that waive the rights of victims and makes any such contract which require employees to conceal details relating to these types of claims unenforceable against employees. If the employee publicly reveals enough information to identify the employer, the employer would then be also free to discuss the case.
“Non-disclosure agreements have, for a long time, been used to silence and intimidate the victims of sexual assault and harassment,” Sen, Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), the bill’s main sponsor in the upper chamber, said. “Limiting these so-called ‘confidentiality agreements’ will help lift the secrecy that allows abusers to carry on abusing, and make our workplaces safer for everyone.”

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Specialized High School Parents Confront AOC

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez responds to parent protests about changes to admissions standards fr the Specialized High Schools  March 16, 2019
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I LOVE how fired up our NY-14 town halls get. This is New York City!<br><br>Getting fired up means you care. I’d never discount the passion and courage it takes to stand up at a town hall.<br><br>So this was a great moment and an awesome opportunity to have this honest conversation. 💜 <a href="https://t.co/c9PYVEMgHm">https://t.co/c9PYVEMgHm</a></p>&mdash; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) <a href="https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1107043822415069186?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 16, 2019</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Judge dismisses female genital mutilation charges in historic case

Judge dismisses female genital mutilation charges in historic case: U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman concluded that "as despicable as this practice may be," Congress did not have the authority to pass the 22-year-old federal law that criminalizes female genital mutilation, and that FGM is for the states to regulate. FGM is banned worldwide and has been outlawed in more than 30 countries, though the U.S. statute had never been tested before this case. 

"As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be ... federalism concerns deprive Congress of the power to enact this statute," Friedman wrote in his 28-page opinion, noting: "Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM ... FGM is a 'local criminal activity' which, in keeping with long-standing tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress."

Thursday, March 7, 2019

In a hotbed of opposition to admissions changes to New York City’s specialized high schools, Carranza doesn’t back down

In a hotbed of opposition to admissions changes to New York City’s specialized high schools, 

Carranza doesn’t back down

by Christina Veiga // Chalkbeat New York

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza was cut off by a chorus of boos.
Spanning the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and a sliver of Sunset Park, the district has served as a reliable pipeline to the coveted schools. It is also home to the Christa McAuliffe School, where the parent organization has sued the city, claiming that admissions changes that will take effect this year will discriminate against Asian students.
“Let’s be really clear. The notion that you can only receive a quality education in a specialized high school is false,” he said, prompting disapproval from the audience.
 The exchange illustrated how much is at stake for many of the district’s families, who have come to see the specialized schools as make-or-break, the best shot for their child’s success. That is especially true for many Asian families, many of whom come from modest means.
Carranza tried repeatedly to convince the crowd that the country’s largest school system offered plenty of other rigorous high school options — only to be met with a litany of questions about how the city’s plans for specialized schools would affect the area’s students.
“How is our district going to be represented in this equation, and how are we going to have equity and fairness to be able to aspire to these locations?” asked Adele Doyle, president of the local Community Education Council, which hosted the town hall.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Social workers, overdose reversers, counselors: Why are Philly police tasked with so much more than law enforcement? | Opinion

Social workers, overdose reversers, counselors: Why are Philly police tasked with so much more than law enforcement? | Opinion: Why are we asking police officers to deal with situations that aren’t criminal in nature?

by Abraham Gutman

On a cold night in January, SEPTA transit police officers asked a group of homeless people who were finding shelter in Suburban Station to leave as the station was closing for the night. The group refused. Violence erupted and the officers used their batons and pepper spray. Who threw the first punch is disputed. A few days later, a SEPTA police officer was filmed dragging a homeless person who seems to be in a state of stupor in a wheelchair across Suburban Station. When confronted by a bystander, the officer responded: “You want to take him? Go. Take him home with you.”
Some people who saw the video saw a burned-out police officer who handles a difficult population on a daily basis. Others saw lack of empathy and dehumanization of a person who is homeless. At the heart of both of these incidents are police officers who are tasked with dealing with a social problem, not a crime. It’s easy to blame this kind of behavior on specific officers, but that avoids a larger conversation about the role of police in Philadelphia and if it matches the city’s evolving needs.