AEFP 45th Annual Conference Program
Chair:, Brown University
Chair:, Temple University
Chair:, American University
Chair:, Vanderbilt University
Chair:, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Chair:, Columbia University
Chair:, University of Florida
Chair:, Vanderbilt University
Chair:, Penn State University
Chair:, Florida Gulf Coast University
Chair:, New York City Department of Education
Despite New York City’s tremendously diverse public school population, low-income Black and Latino students largely attend school apart from affluent White students (Kucsera & Orfield, 2014), contributing to unequal access to educational opportunities. While school segregation is a longstanding challenge, the issue has recently received renewed and more urgent attention in the press and from policymakers, educators, students, and community members across the City. In particular, three community school districts (CSDs) are rolling out desegregation efforts: In each of these CSDs, middle schools are setting aside a proportion of available seats for vulnerable students, including those with low scores on state exams, students who experience homelessness, and English Language Leaners. These initiatives represent a form of “controlled choice” (Frankenberg, 2017), where school admissions policies are changed in an attempt to lessen school segregation, while still maintaining school choice.
As these plans are being implemented, the public conversation has focused not only on changing enrollment policies to make schools more representative of the diversity of the City, but also on creating meaningful integration inside schools. There is a growing consensus that these desegregation plans should be assessed based on the degree to which they help ensure that students have access to inclusive learning environments; that students feel safe, culturally affirmed, and intellectually supported; and that students have the opportunity to learn from peers who have a diverse range of perspectives and experiences.
This panel will bring together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners based in New York City to take stock of school desegregation efforts, describe the policy context, and offer perspectives for other cities engaging in this work. Panelists will draw on scholarship aimed at a better understanding of the relationship between school segregation and inequality, as well as practical experience developing and implementing policies and practices that aim to create diverse and inclusive learning environments for students. The panel will open with Nicole Mader, Senior Research Fellow at Center for New York City Affairs, who will provide an overview of trends in racial and socioeconomic segregation, including evidence that some school choice policies can exacerbate the problem. Then, Sadye Campoamor, Director of Community Affairs for the New York City Department of Education’s Division of Community Empowerment, Partnerships, and Communications, will discuss the development and early results of controlled choice policies that seek to lessen segregation across the City. Next, Kathryn Hill and Zitsi Mirakhur, Research Associates from the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at New York University (NYU), will discuss findings from a qualitative research study in the three districts discussed above, highlighting challenges that school and district leaders anticipated as desegregation initiatives were getting underway. Finally, Matt Gonzales, Director of the Integration and Innovation Initiative at the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at NYU, will discuss his work with schools to develop integration plans and strategies, and the tools they use to support and monitor progress. This panel will offer a diverse range of perspectives, for a comprehensive conversation around what it takes to pursue meaningful desegregation and integration, challenges along the way, and lessons for school and district leaders trying to implement similar initiatives across the country.