"Until we get equality in Education, we won't have an equal Society." -Sonia Sotomayor
Exercising our powers to bring forth equity for all
we oppose the passage of District 2’s NYSIP Grant application
$3 million has been set aside for the New York State Integration Project-Professional Learning Community Grant (NYSIP-PLC), to which districts around the state can apply. These funds will be used to achieve “greater integration by race and ethnicity, as well as socioeconomic, special education, and English language learner/multilingual learner (ELL/MLL) status in Title I schools.”
In District 2, as of August 2020, the application for the NYSIP grant is in Phase III. However, based on the summary of Phase III NYSIP application, the proposal will be using academic screens to “advance equity initiatives”, after acknowledging that competitive screening for admission at middle schools in District 2 itself causes the “persistent scourge of segregation.” (p. 4). In addition, the application ignores the historically racist and discriminatory nature of screens against Black and Latinx students. In fact, a group of 400+ educators and principals at District 2 schools came together and signed a letter strongly opposing utilizing screens to sort and categorize our children. When questioned about the racist roots of assessment testing, District 2 Superintendent Donalda Chumney, the leader of the NYSIP design team, states that she had not heard of those origins.
More importantly, the District 2 NYSIP design team does not and has not included any Black or Latinx parent representatives. While this grant is intended to integrate the highly segregated schools in our community, multiple members of the team have participated in groups that work to systematically uphold the exclusion of communities of color. In addition, there had been minimal community engagement during the design of this project. By granting this application, NYS will set back integration efforts in New York City Community School District 2.
Therefore, FREE opposes the passage of the District 2’s NYSIP Grant application, which is in Phase III as of the time of this writing. FREE asks that the design team return to the drawing board, recruit the true stakeholders – Black and Latinx parents – and redesign and resubmit the integration proposal WITHOUT methodologies that have strong racist roots.
We also ask for radical transparency during the process, as well as ongoing community engagement. We need to ensure District 2’s Integration Project is authentically created by community and parent leaders who represent the racial demographics of the district, with a particular focus on those who have been historically denied access. We must ensure all of our children in District 2 reach their fullest potential regardless of race or special abilities. Integration is a process that will benefit ALL children in any given community, and no integration plan should exclude the most important stakeholders of all: the families of the underserved and marginalized children.