New York Schools Are the Nation’s Most Racially Segregated

Racial segregation in New York schools is as bad as it was in the South prior to Brown v. Board of Education.

By Julianne Hing Mar 27, 2014

According to a new report released Wednesday by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, in 2009 black and Latino students in New York state went to the most racially segregated public schools in the country. The numbers are heavily influenced by the racial segregation in New York City Public Schools, the nation’s largest public school district, where nearly all black and Latino students attend schools that are majority-students of color, but where typical white students attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of the students are black, even though across the district black students are 30 percent of the district. 

In New York City the numbers are more stark when broken down by type of school. In New York City, 73 percent of charter schools were classified by researchers as "apartheid schools," meaning that they had under 1 percent white enrollment, and 90 percent were classified as "intensely segregated," with under 10 percent enrollment. New York City has one of the nation’s most highly racially segregated school districts, due largely to the high degree of residential segregation for blacks, Latinos and whites. UCLA researchers said that the high degree of school segregation in New York City was also due to the fragmentation of the school system in New York, where even in New York City the district is split up into 32 Community School District. Nineteen of those CSD’s have a white enrollment under 10 percent–including every district in the Bronx, two-thirds of Brooklyn’s CSD’s, half of Manhattan’s CSD’s and fourty percent of the districts in Queens.

What’s more, the steady dismantling or near absence of federal desegregation plans in New York and the proliferation of school choice plans have exacerbated racial segregation in New York schools. 

The numbers are so serious that "the apartheid conditions are similar to those that existed in the South before Brown v. Board of Education," the report’s authors write. 

Read the report in full: "New York State’s Extreme School Segregation" (PDF)