“The District 15 Diversity Plan just might be the most encouraging thing happening in New York City this fall. It turns out, we are capable of desegregation. Thousands of D15 students, families, and educators are leaning forward, with enthusiasm even, into a future where we deliver high-quality, integrated education to all our kids.
“I’ve visited several of the D15 middle schools this fall, and talked to families at every one of them, and I’ve been so heartened by their efforts to build supportive, diverse, successful school communities. At MS 51, which my kids attended, the student body is dramatically more reflective of our diverse communities, and the academic and talent programs are thriving. Even in those schools that aren’t yet in the target range for diversity, like John Dewey MS, I’ve talked to enthusiastic new parents and students, there’s great new leadership, and this year’s tours are packed with prospective families from throughout the district. It’s hard work, for sure, and there’s a lot more to do. But the plan is working.
“One big lesson here: When we lean forward, when we take an honest look at our segregated reality, when we insist on in-depth community engagement centered around our values, we can rise above our fears and nay-saying.
“This is a very small part of a very large school system, and even in D15 our elementary schools remain starkly segregated, so we should not do too much patting ourselves on the back. But showing that integration is not only possible, but that our kids thrive in it, should give us the courage to keep moving forward.”