Collage of Black Scholars

By Elise Harris Last week, as academia took a much-needed break from “business as usual” during #ShutDownAcademia to engage in praxis–action and reflection–in solidarity with the fight for humanizing Black lives, I found myself revisiting the “OG” Black female scholars who pushed and persisted in academic spaces to humanize how Black children, youth, families, and […]

Depolicing Schools

NYPD trucks parked outside building

By Norm Fruchter During this moment of nation-wide opposition to police killings of Black men and women, we should consider ending two longstanding NYC public school security policies–the NYPD’s control of the city’s School Security Agents, and the imposition of metal detectors in selected city schools.  So, kudos to Chalkbeat’s Alex Zimmerman for reporting on […]

New York City’s Affinity District (Part 3): Decentralization and the governance context of NYC schools

black and white image of a group of adult administrators raising their hands in agreement

By Norm Fruchter From the 1970s to 2002, all the city’s schools including the alternative high schools operated within a partially decentralized citywide education governance structure.  Locally elected school boards in 32 community school districts across the city were responsible for maintaining and supporting all elementary and middle schools and appointing district superintendents to manage […]

New York City’s Affinity District (Part 2): The Origins

facade of La Guardia Community College

By Norm Fruchter The roots of the Affinity District lie in the 1960’s, a period of fierce ferment in U.S. public education. During that decade, civil rights activists, scholars, and critics in key disciplines challenged the nation’s dominant beliefs about the equity and effectiveness of our public schools. Revisionist historians demonstrated the severe class, racial […]

Misplaced: Mistreating Developmental Difference

By Norm Fruchter New York City’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) recently issued a study showing that the late calendar year birth dates of some of the city’s public school students were strongly correlated with those students’ placements in special education programs. NYC’s birthdate cut-off for kindergarten is December 31st, much later than in many other […]

“Unlovely Student Distributions”: A Rebuttal to Chester Finn’s “Even More Social Engineering in New York Schools”

Group of Community Members Review NYC District 15 Diversity Plan

By Norm Fruchter In late November in the Fordham Institute’s Flypaper, Chester Finn disparaged New York City’s Community School District 15’s effort to reduce segregation and improve integration across the district’s eleven middle schools. (The NYC school system, serving 1.1 million students, is divided into 32 administrative districts.)  Finn framed District 15’s reform as “social […]

The Spoils of Whiteness: New York City’s Gifted and Talented Programs

triangular road sign outlined in red with the word "Test" printed in the sign

By Norm Fruchter In 1973, the Vincent Astor Foundation funded New York City to initiate programs for gifted students in 40 Manhattan and Brooklyn schools. In 1983, after I was elected to the Community School Board in Brooklyn’s District 15, I learned that our district had developed Astor program gifted tracks—one class to each grade—in […]

How Participatory Research Can Undo the “Single Story”

Family at a protest with daughter holding a sign that reads "When you're tired of waiting, stand up."

By Joanna Geller Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk “The Danger of a Single Story” turned 10 years old this summer, yet her message still resonates. Adichie cautions that stories become dangerous when they “show a people as one thing, only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” She defines this […]