City Council Holds Hearing To Tackle School Segregation

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Two City Council committees will consider bills Wednesday that address school segregation.

Council Speaker Corey Johnson called New York City’s 1,800 schools one of the most segregated systems in the country.

The hearing comes after it was revealed that the city’s elite public schools severely lacked diversity. While two-thirds of the students in the city school system are black or Latino, they only accounted for 10% of students in the nine elite schools.

“For too long we've been afraid to confront this reality,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “We closed our eyes and hoped that the problem would fix itself or simply go away. No more. We can no longer allow such a system to persist. Just because the problem is hard to fix.”

The council will consider six bills that aim to expand gifted and talented programs for city students. They also want legislation passed by state lawmakers to change admission standards for the elite high schools.

Carranza says the changes will improve academics for all students and indicated that equity and integration go hand-in-hand.

“Integration doesn't lower academic achievement for any student. It improves it. Yet, I can't tell you how many times I hear in this discussion where there's an equation to diversity and a lowering of academic students; I will call that racist every time I hear it and I will say it, so if you don't want me to call you on it, don't say it,” he said.

Carranza underlined the city is moving forward with its plan to ditch the high-stakes testing for specialized high schools such as Stuyvesant.

Though, the plan as faced a slew of criticism, specifically from Asia-American families who believe the test is the best standard.