“How is this possible, that people are saying we’re segregated, we’re Jim Crow,” Kim told the Times. “These words are too harsh. It makes me feel like I’m a bad person.”
This is a striking and revelatory assessment of what’s happening. New York City officials admitted long ago to having a segregated public school system, and committed to integration. A 1955 study — conducted the year after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education — found that 42 city elementary schools were more than 90 percent black and Puerto Rican, and nine middle schools were more than 85 percent.
New York’s segregated schools have become as much a national stain as the Mississippi segregation academies for which Hyde-Smith was shamed in November. Yet because they remain so desirable, and rich with opportunity for those who attend them, their basic premise goes largely unquestioned. As is the guiding principle that sustains them — that in America, a good education is something to be hoarded rather than guaranteed to all children.