An effort directed toward fostering school diversity in gentrified neighborhoods is underway in New York City.
An influx of wealthy, white residents over the past few years has led to rapid gentrification in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, and the effect is being felt at Public School 705. Principal Sandra Soto still is in charge of an elementary school that is half black and a quarter hispanic, but she sees the change coming and worries that the minority children will disappear once their families are priced out of the neighborhood.
“The next thing you know I have a whole slew of middle-class white families,” she said. She worries that black and Hispanic families are left feeling, “Here we go. We’re marginalized again.”
PS 705 is one of seven New York City schools participating in a pilot program that will allow a change in admissions policies to maintain diversity in a school system that has been called one of the most segregated in the country.
The city has 1.1 million public school students, and the ethnic mix is not distributed evenly, as it is based on neighborhood demogaphics and socio-economic class. Many schools are all black and Hispanic, and others are mostly Asian or white.