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Sunday, May 23, 2021

NYC Honors "Diversity" By Ending The Neighborhood School

 Doing away with screening in the admission process leaves many parents unhappy while others are thrilled.

We believe that every child is unique, and has different learning needs and abilities. We believe that diversity of opportunity is a good thing, and therefore we support school choice. For too many years the Department of Education has ignored sub-standard schools - with run-down buildings and narrow curricula - in areas of minority populations politicians chose to ignore.

But is ending the neighborhood school a good move?

The New York City Department of Education is setting up a house of cards that has no supporting services to be successful in this effort to diversify. Many years ago, three years after the Gifted and Talented k-12 school NEST+M opened up at 111 Columbia Street and East Houston, my youngest daughter was accepted to 6th grade after graduating from PS 6 on the Upper Eastside where we live. We were very happy with the immense diversity in her class. NEST+M was a City-wide school and accepted any student in the NYC school district who passed the entrance test.

After a few months at NEST and after some parents spoke with me about how they wish they could get a school bus from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and District 2 in Manhattan, I looked into the issue as a member of the PTA. The school bus companies serviced schools within the District the school was located. Any student accepted to NEST+M outside of District 1, a small dot in lower Manhattan, was out of luck. The owners of the bus companies hung up on me when I tried to convince them that kids in the other boroughs were students deserving of transportation to their school. Some bus company employees were very belligerent in their opposition. They told me, so what if kindergarten students have to take the subway to get there and back home? "Their parents should never have accepted a spot."

I was on the transportation committee, and saw how nasty people could be when confronted with the issue of kids being transported in and out of a neighborhood they did not live in. But we kept our focus on getting the NEST students - in all grades except high school - to school on time, and it worked.

But if the NYC Department of Education does not have a support structure in place to provide for children to be accepted into schools not in their neighborhood, there will be trouble ahead.

The End of the Neighborhood School

 Betsy Combier

Editor, ADVOCATZ blog
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

Under New Policy, Selective Manhattan High Schools Offer More Seats To Students Outside District