In June 2015, New York City began its Diversity in Admissions program in an attempt to increase diversity across the city’s schools. The program mandated the creation of an advisory group consisting of parents, students and diversity experts who were tasked with coming up with recommendations by June 2018 for how the school system can increase diversity in its classrooms.
The number of schools participating in the program has increased, and is now at forty-two, according to Ben Chapman of the New York Daily News. Chapman notes that this “is up from 19 schools in 2016 and seven schools that piloted the city’s Diversity in Admissions program in the 2015 school year.” But, it is still a small percentage of the almost 2,000 schools in New York City. He also explains how the schools are using admissions targets to integrate their classrooms.
The program aimed to “decrease the number of ‘economically stratified’ schools by ten percent over the next five years,” according to Christina Veiga of Chalkbeat New York. It was also designed to increase the number of schools serving students learning English and students with disabilities, in addition to increasing the number of students in what the city calls “racially representative schools” by 50,000 over the next five years.
Veiga explains that among the new schools is the academically prestigious Bard High School Early College in Queens and P.S. 77 The Lower Lab School—which enrolls gifted students—as well as the first school in the Bronx to participate in the program, the Academy of Applied Mathematics and Technology in Mott Haven. She contends that the program “doesn’t alter system-wide policies that contribute to segregation, including the way most students are assigned to the school closest to their home. But it’s popular with individual schools, and has been one of the most tangible steps taken by the de Blasio administration toward addressing segregation in New York City, which is one of the most segregated school districts in the country.”
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