Part 3—Offers offensive remark: Within the context of the New York City schools, what would a "citywide integration plan" actually look like?
We aren't entirely sure; in fact, we don't know at all. As we noted yesterday, a plan which magically produced perfect "racial balance" in every school would produce an outcome roughly like this, not adjusting for possible "upscale flight:"
Everyschool NYC:Would that be helpful for lower-achieving kids? Let's save that question for later! But just in terms of the raw numbers, it might be hard to achieve that miracle cure, for reasons Elizabeth Harris outlined in this New York Times news report last week:
White kids: 15 percent
Black kids: 27 percent
Hispanic kids: 41 percent
Asian-American kids: 16 percent
Low-income kids: 75 percent
HARRIS (5/2/18): The proposal [to "make some middle schools more diverse"] came from the superintendent of District 3, a swath of Manhattan that includes the Upper West Side and a bit of southern Harlem. It incorporates families who live in expensive prewar apartment buildings, in shabby tenements and in a number of public housing complexes scattered throughout. While many districts in New York City have little racial diversity to speak of—in some districts, the vast majority of students are black, for example—District 3 is a mix. A little more than half the students are black or Hispanic, and about 40 percent of them are white or Asian.In terms of so-called race, District 3 is substantially more diverse than most parts of the city.
As Harris noted, some school districts within the New York City Public Schools are almost entirely black. Then too, there's Staten Island, where 64 percent of the overall population was white as of the 2010 census.
Will the term "forced ferrying" come to replace the old demonic, "forced busing?" Probably not, but depending on one's ultimate goals, it seems there's only so much a "citywide integration plan" can expect to accomplish in New York, absent the ever-present goal of making us liberals feel good.
When Mara Gay wrote last Friday's essay on "desegregation," she mainly spoke in favor of a "desegregation" plan for the schools of District 3, where "about 40 percent" of the kids are of the desirable types. Based on Harris' report from two days before, an "integration plan" for District 3 could certainly result in schools where the basic numbers, school-by-school, looked better than they do today.
Whether those schools would help lower-achieving kids is another story, of course. We expect to examine such questions all next week.
That said, Gay said she wanted to cheer at the thought that District 3 schools might show more racial balance. She also suggested support for a "citywide" plan—and threw a fair amount of shade at someone who possibly doesn't.
That person is Mayor de Blasio, who is more typically parodied as a crackpot, ludicrous lefty.
This do Blasio is different! In the online version of Gay's essay, he's met with shade right in the headline: "Parents Do What the Mayor Hasn’t—Integrate Schools."
That headline smacks the mayor. In Gay's actual essay, the criticism starts in paragraph 10 (of 24), where de Blasio is unfavorably contrasted with one of those high-minded District 3 parents.
The parent favors what's "best for all our kids." The mayor just isn't on board:
GAY (5/4/18): Kristen Berger, vice president of the Upper West Side's parent and community advisory council, who has pushed hard for the [District 3] plan, said she was shocked when she realized how racially segregated her daughter's school district was. ''Frankly, I was kind of shamed by it,'' said Ms. Berger, who is white. ''Public school is a public good, so we need to do the best for all our kids.''Perhaps we're showing a bit of cheek in our reading of that passage. Perhaps Gay only meant that de Blasio hasn't "fully come on board" with respect to the District 3 plan.
One person who hasn't fully come aboard is Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has supported local integration efforts but whose citywide plan, released last year, is unambitious and entirely voluntary, allowing districts to opt in.
Whatever! At any rate, as Gay continues, she quotes de Blasio making a statement which the nation's indifferent pseudoliberals should take some time to consider. First, though, de Blasio won't even say The Word:
GAY (continuing directly): Mr. de Blasio refuses to use the word ''segregated'' to describe the city's schools. And while the Supreme Court ruled 64 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are inherently unequal, the mayor says schools whose students are almost entirely black and Latino can provide a good education ''as long as the resources are there.''The mayor won't even use the word! Also, what the Supreme Court said! In Brown!
''We should not mistake the question of diversification with the issue of quality,'' the mayor said during a lengthy phone conversation on the issue.
As Gay continues, she spends some time in a largely pointless debate about the worth of The Word. But by the end of her piece, she's backed the mayor onto the ropes, and she's pounding him fairly hard:
GAY: Mr. de Blasio said his administration would move faster toward a comprehensive citywide plan now that local efforts seemed to be working, but he said it would still be voluntary. ''Is everyone going to buy in? No,'' he said. ''We do not require everyone to buy in.''Good lord! De Blasio's citywide integration plan would be voluntary—and he even played the busing card!
The mayor also said the city's hands were largely tied with segregation in public elementary schools, which are largely zoned by neighborhood and more affected by residential segregation patterns. Busing, he said, ''absolutely poisoned the well'' in Boston in the 1970s, near where he grew up. ''I'm telling you, and I think history is on my side here, you do not want to create a series of conflicts here,'' he said.
Dennis Morgan, who serves on the Upper West Side parent-community council with Ms. Berger and is black, said Mr. de Blasio should step up.
''He's the mayor, it's his responsibility,'' Mr. Morgan said. ''He should be setting the rules that we're playing by.''
For now at least, it is people like Henry Zymeck who are showing the way. Mr. Zymeck said he believed the momentum was on his side. ''I've done this a long time, I've seen a lot of controversial ideas that cause a big uproar at first,'' he said. ''But after a while, people start seeing the light.''
Maybe the mayor will. Maybe we all could.
As Gay continues, a parent is quoted saying the mayor should "step up." As she ends her piece, Gay hopes he "sees the light."
Out of that mishegas came the headline which sits atop Gay's piece. For ourselves, we invite you to look again at the mayor's most awful and offensive remark, as recorded by Gay:
"[W]hile the Supreme Court ruled 64 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools are inherently unequal, the mayor says schools whose students are almost entirely black and Latino can provide a good education 'as long as the resources are there.' "
In truth, The Court's finding in Brown bore specific reference to the effects of schools which were legally segregated—schools which were all-white and all-black as a matter of law. That said, we'll only offer this thought:
Decent people had better hope that the mayor's statement is correct—that schools whose students are almost entirely black and Latino can provide a good education.
Decent people need to hope that the mayor is right. Tomorrow, we'll take you to Detroit—and to Laredo—to show you why we say that.
We'll fly you to little-visited ports. We'll even bring Scrooge along.
Tomorrow: Dickens' deeply indifferent uncle is taken to San Antone