New York City parents whose children attend P.S. 199 were outraged to find out that 17 local middle schools in the Upper West Side district plan to launch a new initiative to end segregation, NY1 reports. Emotions boiled over during a this week in meeting during which the plan was introduced.
In order to accomplish this integration, nearly a quarter of available seats at these schools will be reserved for students scoring below grade level on state English and math exams. Outraged parents were caught on camera lambasting the district's plan, claiming that the disadvantaged children would take places from students that deserved them more.
“You’re talking about an 11-year-old, 'You worked your butt off and you didn’t get that, what you needed or wanted,'” said one parent, who feared that current students at P.S. 199 would be sent off to worse schools. “You’re telling them that 'You’re not going to go to a school that’s going to educate them the same way you’ve been educated.' Life sucks! Is that what the DOE [Department of Education] wants to say?”
According to NY1, P.S. 199 is one of the city's whitest schools, and many of the students that attend it come from some of the wealthiest families in the city.
"District 3 currently has very segregated middle schools. The principals have expressed concern that under the blind ranking this may become more worse," said Kristen Berger of the Upper West Side Elected Parent Council. "So they are looking, and parents are looking, at mechanisms we can put into place to actually decrease the segregation and increase diversity across all of our schools."
The principals in the district and some parents have come out in support of the plan. Many have seen the value of leading the way to diversify schools in the city. If the plan comes to fruition, the Upper West Side district would become the first in the city to enact such a policy.
“There are kids that are tremendously disadvantaged,” Henry Zymeck, the principal of The Computer School, said. “And to compare these students and say, ‘My already advantaged kid needs more advantage; they need to be kept away from those kids,’ is tremendously offensive to me.”
The district superintendent is currently reviewing the plan.