Rapid gentrification threatens to destabilize public schools and their communities in many areas of New York City. Without proactive leadership and intentional effort, these schools will follow the same patterns of racial and economic segregation and inequality that are all too familiar in the city’s more affluent areas. Community leaders in gentrifying community school districts are now working to seize a finite moment of opportunity to turn student-assignment policies towards a future of diversity and inclusion.
Collectively, community school districts 13, 14, and 15 in northern Brooklyn are experiencing some of the most intense gentrification in the city. New York Appleseed and Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe are working with community school district leadership, principals, community-based organizations, parents, and elected officials to support their initiatives to promote school diversity, provide research and technical assistance, and connect them to resources:
- Community School District 13 comprises neighborhoods as diverse as Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, downtown Brooklyn, and Bedford-Stuyvesant as well as two of the wealthiest ten census tracts in the city. Neighborhood is only loosely linked to elementary-school attendance in District 13; only about 40% of students in the district attended their zoned elementary school in the 2011-2012 school year. New York Appleseed supports school communities grappling with difficult issues associated with changing demographics.
- Community School District 14 is the most rapidly gentrifying district in New York City. D14 for Diversity includes the Community Education Council, community based organizations, parents, the Superintendent and Principals of District 14 schools, and local officials. New York Appleseed is working with this task force to explore strategies to leverage the educational benefits of school diversity for all children.
- Community School District 15 includes much of “Brownstone Brooklyn” as well as changing areas like Redhook and Sunset Park. New York Appleseed works with school communities seeking to create inclusive, anti-racist environments in District 15.