By Ana Choi
On October 22, the New York City Council introduced a package of legislation aimed at addressing the problem of racial and socioeconomic segregation in New York City’s public schools. The package contains three pieces. The first piece would require the city’s Education Department to report statistics for various measures of diversity in the schools. The second piece calls on the Education Department to officially declare school diversity a policy goal. The third piece urges the New York State Legislature to rewrite a 1971 law that made the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) the only criterion that could be used to admit students into the city’s elite specialized high schools—including Stuyvesant High School and the Bronx High School of Science.
Although the City Council has very little power over the public school system, the sponsors of the legislation package hope to draw attention to the issue and influence the conversation about how to improve integration in the schools. The package of legislation comes in the wake of a recent report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA which found that New York state has the most segregated schools in the country. There currently is a bill before the New York state legislature that, if passed, would change the admission policy for the specialized schools so that they would use a “power score” factoring in a student’s grade point average, attendance, and state exam scores, in addition to the SHSAT. So far, however, the bill has not received much support. [Read more…] about School Segregation in New York City