Entrenched positions and pleas for change: NYC council debates school integration

City council members on Wednesday grilled education department officials on school segregation at a joint hearing of the Education Committee and Civil and Human Rights Committee.


The sharp questions and answer session took place just weeks before the 65th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.


The atmosphere was a stark departure from just five years ago, when council members questioned education department officials about diversity issues in a school system that remains among the most segregated in the country.

Schools Chancellor Says SHSAT Results Show the Opportunity Gap Facing Black and Latino Students

Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin called for reevaluating the admissions policy but said the city has an obligation to showcase other great high schools and improve lagging schools.


“We have to make sure all our high schools also have specialized programs in there that attract students. They’ll stay in the neighborhood, don’t have to travel a couple hours to go to a high school,” Chin said.


Advocates of the chancellor’s plan say changing the admissions policy for specialized high schools would also help diversify some city neighborhoods because families would want to give their children the best shot at being in the top percent of their eighth grade class.