The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

So How Important Is This Diversity In Public Schools Thing Anyway?

Be honest. Part of the reason you want your kid to go to public school is that you paid your taxes and you don't want or can't spend $40,000 to go to a private academy. But let's be honest about something else...some schools in this City are getting better, and the options are greater, in part, because more and more folks with resources are joining the system. This is the unintended but bright consequence of soaring private education prices. (This is not yet happening at state colleges, but perhaps that will change too if enough folks start demanding a low-cost option for the absolutely essential baccalaureate degree.)

With the influx of more affluent parents comes a HUGE opportunity. But for it all to work, we HAVE to demand economic and racial diversity. TRUE diversity. Not the kind where you as a white person walk into a room and say "that's nice, there's a few people of color here." The numbers gotta be equal or close to equal. People of color yes, but also people of meager means. That's why so many public schools are creating "set asides," not for race (which would be illegal), but for free or reduced lunch, the system's de facto indicator of low-income.

We have got to stick together and insist that separate is not equal. We tried busing, but the backlash was intense, and led to more and more flight of whites to independent school districts outside the inner cities, once again depriving schools of true diversity. And don't misunderstand me...I firmly believe the benefits are two-way. We can raise our kids to respect each other if we allow them to study and play together from the earliest ages. I've personally seen how we often segregate ourselves on the playground, in nursery's a matter of "comfort level," and it's a real thing. But at the public schools we have a chance to turn over the reins a bit, and trust that the best teachers will take care of our kids equally, and allow every kid to blossom according to their minds and deeds, not their circumstance.

Sound hippy-dippy? Bullshit. It's real. It's possible. It's here. Check out this organization, NYC Appleseed, and read more about the problem and solutions that are working. This is our time, parents. We can look back on our lives and say "well, at least my kid got a good education," or we can say "my family was part of a bold experiment to remake society." Are they really incompatible? Will your child really not learn to read and write and 'rithmetic in a public elementary school? Do you really think your kid's gonna get mugged every day for their milk money on the way to school? Are you really concerned that low income parents and kids will adversely affect your children? I believe it starts by educating ourselves to the realities of diversity in education. Come on out to this thang, sponsored by Brad Lander, in the increasingly UNdiverse neighborhood of Park Slope.

End of sermon. Back to flyers and new business alerts.

1 comment:

no_slappz said...

Clarkson, you can remove my comments, however, the removal won't change the goals of the NYC Appleseed organization or the alter the aims of Carmen Farina.

The group is aghast that Stuyvesant is almost 75 percent Asian and appalled that Brooklyn Tech is 50 percent Asian.

After accruing years of experience with the public school system here in NY City, I can tell you the changes this groups seeks will lead to problems that will make you tear your hair out when you get caught up in their effects.