New Efforts Aimed at Integrating New York City Schools

Local experiments look to improve racial and class diversity throughout the city’s public education system.

Photo courtesy of WNYC

A 2014 study published by UCLA researchers found that the state of New York had the most segregated schools in the country. This alarming finding helped to prompt a call to change, and encouraged government leaders to consider new desegregation policies and practices.

Through several radio and online articles, Matt Collette takes a closer look at New York City’s recent attempts to desegregate and diversify its schools, including through controlled choice, the redrawing of district lines, and by creating schools that are “diverse by design.” His stories reveal a school system that is deeply divided by race and income. Collette observes that in schools above 96th Street there are mostly low-income students of color; below 96th, the students are predominantly white and affluent. “It’s an unjust system,” says longtime Upper West Side community activist Donna Neville. “It’s a school system that has privileged some at the exclusion of others.”

A version of Collette’s story aired on public radio station WNYC on June 24, 2015, and was published in the online magazine Slate on July 20, 2015.

 Collette’s work was supported through a collaboration between Renaissance Journalism’s Equity Reporting Project and Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project.

Story Links

Local efforts underway to integrate NYC schools start small

Listen to Matt Collette’s story, which aired on WNYC 93.9FM on June 24, 2015.

Why New York City is experimenting with new ways to desegregate public schools

Read Matt Collette’s story on Slate, a daily online magazine.

Matt Collette is a podcast producer at WNYC in New York. He was previously a reporting fellow at The Teacher Project, an education reporting initiative at Columbia Journalism School. His stories, based on embeds at public schools in New York City, have run on WNYC, NPR and Slate. Collette has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he focused on radio reporting and education journalism.