After years of calling for increased diversity in elementary schools in Lower Manhattan, parents and integration supporters in District 1 will now have a plan that aims to do just that.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Thursday that the district that encompasses Manhattan’s Lower East Side and East Village neighborhoods will have a school choice system that intends to raise the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the district.
Despite parents having the ability to choose between District 1’s elementary schools, the institutions are often segregated racially and socioeconomically.
The New York Times reported that for the 2016-2017 school year, students at the district’s East Village Community School on East 12th Street was 58 percent white, while four of the 178 students at Roberto Clemente School (PS15) on East Fourth Street were white.
Under the new pilot, 67 percent of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, live in temporary housing or are English Language Learners will have priority for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten at every D1 school. Students without that criteria will have priority for the remaining 33 percent.
Additionally, families within D1 are urged to list at least five school choices for pre-K and kindergarten applications. Those who do so will “maintain a district priority such that they are more likely to get an offer from one of their top five choices,” according to the DOE announcement.
“We know that all students benefit from diverse and inclusive classrooms, and District 1 is taking an important step forward with their district-wide diversity plan,” Fariña said. “I’ll be closely monitoring the impact of this diversity plan as we engage in efforts across the city."
The pilot was first announced last month, and the DOE sought parent input, which requested a change to enrollment numbers for students with disabilities to be more in-tune with the district’s average.