In 2013 New York City’s Independent Budget Office released charts showing integration levels in public schools in school years 2001-2002 and 2010-2011.  The numbers are disheartening, but unsurprising.

The charts show little change from the city’s unacceptably high levels of school segregation at the beginning of the decade.  Beyond that, the data suggest the following:

  • Expanded “school choice” policies across the city during the period under study (corresponding roughly to the first decade of the Bloomberg administration and mayoral control of schools) did nothing to reduce segregation and significantly (significant, because the dissimilarity indices were so high to start with) increased racial isolation for Asians at all school levels and for African Americans – particularly in the key middle school years.
  • High and unchanging levels of isolation for whites at the middle-school and high-school levels suggest that any reduction in isolation for Latinos and African American high-school students was only vis-à-vis non-whites.
  • The increasing isolation of African Americans in elementary and middle school was due primarily to the rise of charter schools.
  • The significant reduction (but still very high) isolation of whites in elementary school was due to more whites entering the system and trying out some new schools rather than to any significant numbers of predominantly white schools becoming more integrated.  (Elementary schools with substantial white populations tend to go the other direction).