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It’s Friday and Eric Adams Is Against School Segregation But Okay With the Thing That Produces School Segregation

The Adams administration seems pretty okay with school segregation, and more of what we're reading today.

Mayor Eric Adams visits Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx with Schools Chancellor David Banks and local elected leaders as they greet students and parents who are returning from holiday break on Monday, January 3, 2022.

Mayor Eric Adams visits Concourse Village Elementary School in the Bronx with Schools Chancellor David Banks and local elected leaders as they greet students and parents who are returning from holiday break on Monday, January 3, 2022. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

New York City public schools continue to be some of the most racially segregated in the entire country, a fact that should make us all weep with shame.

Before he took office, Eric Adams spoke solemnly about the need to address school segregation. "Our schools are segregated," he said at an event in November 2021. "I believe they are segregated intentionally—it's not just by accident." He added, "We must remove the barriers to education."

So what has Adams done since taking office? He's rolled back his predecessor's efforts to stop tracking kids as young as five into gifted and talented programs—a practice that many reformers believe exacerbates educational inequality—instead announcing an expansion of the program. He's cut hundreds of millions in school funding

And on Thursday, the Department of Education announced that the city's schools will once again be allowed to use students’ grades to determine admission. Fans of separating children by their grades and test scores, and thus the advantages they may have received their whole lives over other less advantaged children, rejoiced.

More, via Chalkbeat: 

In a major shift for high school admissions, eighth graders from across the five boroughs with course grades in the top 15 percent of their class last year will have priority in scoring seats at some of New York City's most selective high schools, Chancellor David Banks said Thursday.

Middle schools, meanwhile, will once again be allowed to screen students based on grades and other metrics for the first time since before the pandemic, Banks added.

The move marks a departure from the past few years when the pandemic upended many of the selective admissions criteria, forcing changes to admissions that helped move the needle on integrating one of the most segregated school systems in the nation. Integration advocates said those changes increased the share of Black, Latino and low-income students admitted to some of the city's most selective schools. According to limited data from the education department, the changes increased the proportion of Black and Latino students at several high-demand schools.

"It's critically important that if you're working hard and making good grades, you should not be thrown into a lottery with just everybody," said Chancellor David Banks, a statement that could certainly be read as dismissive of "just everybody," which includes many of the students he is purportedly serving!

A DOE spokesperson acknowledged to Chalkbeat that the changes represent a setback when it comes to school integration. Via Chalkbeat, emphasis my own: 

Education department spokesperson Nathaniel Styer said the agency is projecting that the changes will increase the racial and socioeconomic diversity of students admitted to screened schools compared to before the pandemic, but not compared to last year, when a wider range of students got first priority to screened schools.

As the Times’s NYC schools reporter Eliza Shapiro put it, “Now the question is: what is *this* administration's plan to diversify and improve schools?”

Good question!

Here's what else is happening: 

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