Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Redistricting, Race and Class in Brooklyn

P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights is badly overcrowded:
To the city, the solution for the overcrowding at P.S. 8 seemed obvious: move those two neighborhoods from P.S. 8’s zone and into that of P.S. 307, which is nearby and has room to spare. The proposal, however, has drawn intense opposition, and not only from the families who would be rezoned from the predominantly white P.S. 8 to the mostly black P.S. 307. Some residents of the housing project served by P.S. 307 also oppose the rezoning, worried about how an influx of wealthy, mostly white families could change their school.
The opposition of P.S. 307 families has a lot to do with the fear of gentrification, which has changed one Brooklyn neighborhood after another. But it underlines the suspicion between the races that is always just under the surface in American -- except when it is boiling over:
For all its diversity, New York City, by some measures, has one of the most segregated school systems in the country, in part because many elementary schools are effectively closed off to children who live outside their zones. And although the Brooklyn rezoning is mainly a response to crowding, it is becoming a real-life study in the challenges of integrating just one of the city’s schools.

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