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Segregation in NYC public schools has increased dramatically in recent years. Despite the fact that many schools were desegregated after the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, many NYC schools exhibited high levels of segregation, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of the city's schools continue to be segregated in terms of funding, teacher types, and other services. As a result, this discrimination affects the schools in different ways such as the performance of students, the rate of students’ graduation, further education, and services or programs open to children. Various studies show that segregation originates from Pre-Kindergarten up to high school levels. As a result, it impacts the way students learn and respond to various issues during the learning process. Segregation depends on multiple factors such as income level, race, and neighborhood.
NYC Schools Segregation and its Impacts
After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, the US government devoted a part of the budget finances to be used in the education sector to ensure that each child accesses similar programs and services across the country. Today, the government spends around $40 billion for this purpose in the public elementary and secondary education in the nation (EdCentral). This portion makes 13% of the total finances used in education with the sector with local governments contributing up to 44% (EdCentral). Being the central factor, finance provision by the government aimed at ensuring that there is no more segregation in schools. However, various schools in NYC still maintain discrimination which affects students in different ways.
Firstly, segregation in schools leads to poor performance among the students. According to Taylor, schools in NYC vary according to the districts (Taylor). The variation by districts means that various races attend various schools. The races associated with high income such as the Whites are likely to fund their schools more and provide a more affluent check on the performance and progress of the schools, for example, the District 3 that is in the West Side of Manhattan (Taylor). Particularly, in this zone, most students are Whites with their population averaging at 13% (Taylor). Thus, the segregation on the bases of race and income translates into impacts on the performance of the students in school.
Secondly, the schools’ segregation has an impact on the rate of graduation among the students in NYC. The rate of graduation, according to the yearly report by the US Department of Education, is at an average of 78% in the New York (Governing Magazine). However, despite the constant graduation rate, various studies show that individual student’s graduation reflects the type of school and educational services and programs received by students. According to Taylor, children from races such as Hispanics, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans have a significantly low rate of graduation in the NYC schools as compared to their counterparts from the White race (Taylor). The difference in graduation depends on factors such as the district and neighborhood of the school’s location which affects funding and other programmes. The rate of graduation also indicates the number of children who are likely to pursue further education. Similarly, in NYC, many students attending college and universities come from the Whites race.
Thirdly, segregation impacts the funding, teachers’ services, and other services offered by the local government to the schools. Through the Congress and the Department of Education, the federal government devotes over $40 billion for primary and secondary education programs (EdCentral). Education programs also receive funding from states and the local funding through property taxes support (EdCentral). In this light, the wealthier communities pay more taxes, unlike the poorer ones. In, NYC, this difference also appears in the funding support that reaches the school. Therefore, schools are entitled to various amounts of resources from the local funding (EdCentral). This gap affects the ability of schools to support the type of services that reach the students such as the type of teachers, books and other requirements of the curriculum, and educational tours and symposiums (Taylor). Children in the poor neighborhoods miss out on essential elements such as including appropriate mobility between teachers and students, reduced follow-up by teachers, for example, in homework completion, and low parent involvement with their children (Klein). Such issues affect the performance, graduation rate, and the ability of the students to pursue higher education.
Ways of Resolving Segregation in NYC Schools
Research shows that the high level of segregation in NYC schools is a challenge that has entered into the education system due to several supportive factors. These factors include population and parental influence, the provision of state and local education programs, racism, and funding disparities based on districts. Thus, the solutions to the issue of segregation in the NYC schools can only come with the correction of most of these problems. Firstly, the US and NYC Education Departments should deal with the funding disparities in the schools. The inter-state funding disparity, which focuses on the state’s wealth, leads to the weak division of funding that directly reaches the schools (EdCentral). Also, the NYC Education Department should eliminate the intrastate financing which has some districts acquiring more than others. Funding that regards the local property tax and neighborhood wealth state should not limit schools in more deprived regions from receiving equal amounts of funding as others in wealthier places.
Secondly, there should be more emphasis on the programs implemented by the government to ensure inclusivity of all children in acquiring all programs. Programs such as No Child Left-Behind Title I Grants and IDEA Special Education State Grants should determine the provision of services and programs in all the schools. Initially, the designation of these programs did not focus on the type of schools or school districts. Therefore, the Education Department should follow-up to ensure that these programs apply to all schools and districts. Thirdly, institutions should assure that there is classroom diversity, especially from as early as at the Pre-Kindergarten level. Students from various racial and social backgrounds should sit and learn together in spite of their significant differences. According to Lu and Sharon, classroom diversity may increase interactions between children and also parents (12). As a result, this may deal with the issue of segregation especially in the NYC schools where kids attend schools only in districts suited to their races and social status (Klein). Diversity programs in the NYC schools may benefit kids from Hispanic and African American backgrounds who face integration challenges especially in high school and further education levels as a result of segregation on the bases of race and income level (Taylor). The Education Department should ascertain that there is diversity in the classroom through supervising the admission processes and ensuring that there are specific lots for admission of children from various backgrounds (Levinson and Fay, 2016, 145). Such lots should not be open to children from other backgrounds.
EdCentral. School Finance: A Breakdown of How Schools are Funded. Edcyclopedia, n.d., http://www.edcentral.org/edcyclopedia/school-finance/. Accessed 11th Dec. 2017.
High Schools Graduation Rates by State. Governing Magazine: State and Local News for America’s Leaders, n.d., http://www.governing.com/gov-data/high-school-graduation-rates-by-state.html. Accessed 11th Dec. 2017.
Klein, Rebecca. The South Isn’t The Reason Schools Are Still Segregated, New York Is. Politics, January, 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/new-york-school-desegregation_us_56fc7cebe4b0a06d5804bdf0. Accessed 11th Dec. 2017.
Levinson, M., & Fay, J. (2016). Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries. Harvard Education Press. 8 Story Street First Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Lu, Ying, and Sharon L. Weinberg. "Public pre-K and test taking for the NYC gifted-and-talented programs: Forging a path to equity." Educational Researcher 45.1 (2016): 36-47.
Taylor, Kate. Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens. NY Times, April, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/28/nyregion/school-segregation-nyc-district-3.html. Accessed 11th Dec. 2017.
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