A panel of "experts" assembled by New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has suggested to the city that the best possible way to desegregate its school system is simply to do away with the gifted programs for some the Big Apple's best and brightest students. The reasoning? These programs are mostly full of white and Asian students, and not many black or Hispanic kids. So, if they get rid of these classes, then the city naturally becomes desegrated.
The New York Times has the story:
Mr. de Blasio, who has staked his mayoralty on reducing inequality, has the power to adopt some or all of the proposals without input from the State Legislature or City Council. If he does, the decision would fundamentally reshape a largely segregated school system and could reverberate in school districts across the country.
The mayor will now be thrust into the center of a sensitive debate about race and class at home, even as he is straining to stand out in a crowded field of Democratic contenders for president.
He risks alienating tens of thousands of mostly white and Asianfamilies whose children are enrolled in the gifted programs and selective schools. If a substantial number of those families leave the system, it would be even more difficult to achieve integration.
The panel instead recommends that "that the city replace gifted and screened schools with new magnet schools — which have been used in other cities to attract a diverse group of students interested in a particular subject matter — along with enrichment programs that are open to students with varying academic abilities."
The mayor has not made any decision what so ever, and instead says he will "assess" the recommendation.
It seems this plan only drags down certain people, rather than enacting legislation that lifts all individuals. What a mess.