Elizabeth Weise

What can parents and communities do to create socioeconomically integrated schools?

Brooklyn Prospect is embarking on an ambitious experiment in school integration.

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“Embedded honors” is an interesting concept to allow ambitious students to get more rigorous work while not creating tracking or segregated classrooms.

What Happens When You Design a School to Be Diverse?

Brooklyn Prospect is embarking on an ambitious experiment in school integration.

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Twins Khadejah and Yazmine Taylor, both 14, take “embedded honors” in ninth-grade algebra and English at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School.

Lisa Larson-Walker/Slate

BROOKLYN—The kind of high school Juana Lino and Ezra Taylor wanted for their twin daughters is all too rare, even in New York City: one with rigorous academics and a racially and socio-economically diverse student body.

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“The workplace is diverse, and school is like a job,” says Lino, who identifies as Hispanic and black. She valued the diversity of her daughters’ Boerum Hill elementary school, PS 261, and wanted to see her 14-year-olds, Khadejah and Yazmine, in a similar environment for middle school. But in New York City, home to one of America’s most segregated school systems, finding a diverse school is no easy task

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So Lino was pleased to discover Brooklyn Prospect Charter School while searching for schools online. The “diverse by design” charter opened seven years ago and now includes a middle and high school for grades six through 12 and an expanding elementary school that currently goes up to the second grade.

Brooklyn Prospect is part of a growing national movement aimed at creating a new paradigm: racially and socio-economically integrated charter schools. Across all grades, Brooklyn Prospect enrolls 36 percent white students, 34 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, 8 percent multiracial, and 6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Forty-five percent of the children qualify for free and reduced lunch, a marker of economic hardship. Around 17 percent have special needs. That may not precisely reflect the demographics of the city’s schools as a whole—where 14 percent of students are white, 27 percent are black, and 40 percent Hispanic—but it comes closer than most city schools and certainly most charter schools. A 2014 report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA concluded that nearly 3 in 4 New York City charter schools are “apartheid schools,” meaning they enroll less than 1 percent white students. Brooklyn Prospect was one of the notable exceptions.

Please read more here.

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Written by Elizabeth Weise

June 14, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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