Monday, January 18, 2016
Time To Bring Back The Community High Schools To Combat Academic And Racial Segregation.
At the beginning of the 21st century (2000), high school were community based as each high school was zoned and the students who lived in that community zone went to their high school. The only exceptions were the specialized and vocational schools. Along came Michael Bloomberg and his Chancellor, Joel Klein, who decided that school choice was the cure for the ills of the New York City public school system. The zoned high schools became a thing of the past and a student can choose any high school throughout the City. This became known as school choice and was supposed to make all high schools competitive and diverse. However, the exact opposite happened instead. Here we are in 2016, after 12 horror-filled years under Mayor Bloomberg and the high schools are more segregated both academically and racially than ever before.
The Bloomberg/Klein tenure saw the DOE deliberately segregate schools both academically and racially. First, they eliminated zoned high schools, allowing high performing students go to any school they wanted to while the low performing students were left behind. Second, the DOE encouraged an increasing numbers of schools to become screened schools whose sole purpose was to attract high performing students to the school. Third, the Bloomberg/Klein administration decided to close many of the large comprehensive high schools and to achieve that purpose was a deliberate policy of dumping "high needs" students in increasing numbers in these schools to ensure these schools fail and be replaced by the Bloomberg small schools. Finally, to ensure that the targeted large high schools struggle and eventually close, the DOE would discourage high achieving students from either going to the school or allowing them to transfer out.
The result of the deliberate Bloomberg/Klein policy was to segregate many of the high schools both academically and racially. Many of the struggling high schools academically in the City are nearly 100% minority. By contrast, the academically proficient high schools are either diverse or majority Asian and White. While bringing back the zoned high school is not a complete solution to segregated schools, its a start as each school will have a layer of high achieving (minority) students and these students will go a long way to improve the schools academically and bring in school pride that is sorely lacking in far too many schools. More importantly, over time as neighborhoods change and slowly gentrify, the schools will also become more diverse and attractive to all the community's student population.
You want more diverse schools both academically and eventually racially then bring back the community high schools.