DOE Looks to Rezone Popular Park Slope Schools


Today DNAinfo has a story on the Department of Education’s tentative plan to shrink two popular school zones in Park Slope, P.S. 321 and P.S. 107. Although a few plans have been floated and nothing is set in stone yet, here’s what may happen: “The zone for the high-performing P.S. 321 on Seventh Avenue and First Street would shrink, and DOE would open a new zoned school in the former Thomas Aquinas School building on Eighth Street and Fourth Avenue. That new school would take some students formerly zoned for P.S. 321 and some who had been in the zone for P.S. 39, on Sixth Avenue and Seventh Street.” Then a small area of the P.S. 107 school zone, at Eighth Avenue and 14th Street, will switch over to P.S. 10 on Seventh Avenue and Prospect Avenue. P.S. 321 Principal Liz Phillips says the school is at “the breaking point” and does not want to put zoned students on a waiting list. The District 15 CEC president Jim Devor told DNA that “I imagine I’m going to be hung in effigy in every real estate broker’s office,” referring to the parents willing to pay big bucks to move into the school district. As a tipster said this morning to us, “A good chunk of Central Slope could take a big hit on its property value.” There will be a meeting with the Community Education Council scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 pm. It’ll be at P.S. 261 at 314 Pacific Street in Cobble Hill. Any zoning changes ultimately have to be approved by the CEC. What do you think? Any Park Slope parents out there with an opinion about the best way to address the overcrowding?
Zones for Popular P.S. 321 and P.S. 107 Could Shrink Under DOE Proposal [DNAinfo]

52 Comment

  • There is no good reason why any of those schools couldn’t be as good as 321. Rather than worry about property values I hope local parents will instead work hard at making their schools as good as they can be so you don’t have a situation where people are freaking out to get into a certain zone.

  • this shows one the inherent problems with the traditional zoned schools – it will always lead to segregation, racial, cultural, economic. schools that pull from whole districts or multi-district zones are able to span many diverse neighborhoods and therefore create a far richer, fairer, and more diverse student population.

  • this shows one the inherent problems with the traditional zoned schools – it will always lead to segregation, racial, cultural, economic. schools that pull from whole districts or multi-district zones are able to span many diverse neighborhoods and therefore create a far richer, fairer, and more diverse student population.

  • There was another link here today to implementing affirmative action at P.S.
    133. Why isn’t this done at P.S. 321????

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20121015/sunset-park/school-officials-doe-embroiled-affirmative-action-fight-over-ps-133

  • The controversy about this plan seems to be from local parents who would rather have the former PS 133 site turned into an early education school for pre-K and K only, taking students who would normally be at 321, 39, etc. I have yet to understand the benefit of that plan for the children, though I can see how it would benefit parents.
    As a 321 parent w/ 10 years at the school, I agree w/ Principal Phillips – the school has always worked to accommodate zoned families, but now has had to sacrifice amenities like the art studio to fit classes. Also, the classroom sizes in the past two or three years have increased significantly – it doesn’t matter how good a teacher your child has, they only have so much time per day to divide amongst X number of kids. The main problem I see here is that the rezoning will most likely affect families at the south and west end of the zone, which is traditionally the more economically and ethnically diverse part of the 321 zone (the school is less diverse than it used to be but still more diverse than its immediate neighborhood).

  • The controversy about this plan seems to be from local parents who would rather have the former PS 133 site turned into an early education school for pre-K and K only, taking students who would normally be at 321, 39, etc. I have yet to understand the benefit of that plan for the children, though I can see how it would benefit parents.
    As a 321 parent w/ 10 years at the school, I agree w/ Principal Phillips – the school has always worked to accommodate zoned families, but now has had to sacrifice amenities like the art studio to fit classes. Also, the classroom sizes in the past two or three years have increased significantly – it doesn’t matter how good a teacher your child has, they only have so much time per day to divide amongst X number of kids. The main problem I see here is that the rezoning will most likely affect families at the south and west end of the zone, which is traditionally the more economically and ethnically diverse part of the 321 zone (the school is less diverse than it used to be but still more diverse than its immediate neighborhood).

  • I imagine the biggest issue is real estate values – in reality 321 isn’t all that good – it is simply that the kids that go there are mostly from homes where the parents value education and the children come in very ready to learn – moving those kids to another school will have little effect on the students.

    Of course 321 parents dont want to realize that Liz Phillips (and a decent number of the staff) are simply the same UFT hacks that fill public schools everywhere – middle of the road or worse educators punching a clock till they collect a pension. Because if the parents accepted that they’d feel bad where they are sending little Hudson or Taylor. So instead a cult of 321 (and 107 and PS 8 and,and, and) forms where the parents all love to shout how wonderful the school is and how different it is from all the other public schools. When in reality it isnt the school at all, its the background of the children. (same thing happens in the suburbs with there “great” schools btw). If the above isnt true how else did PS 8 go from a horrible school to a “great” school literally overnight when a sizable group of Brooklyn Heights parents decided to send their kids their about 8 years ago (staff and admin did not radically change)

    In the end it is a self-reinforcing loop – mediocre school with the ‘easiest to teach kids’ is viewed as “great” ->parents want to believe it (makes them feel ok for not $) ->homeowners want to believe it (makes their housing worth more) ->public believes it.

    I have no doubt that this “new” school, will soon enough become a “great” school as well – it will just hurt the people selling RE over the next 4-5 years before the cult takes hold.

    • Brklynmind – clearly you have an axe to grind with the Union. With that said, just as clearly you haven’t had many interactions with Principal Philips or the amazingly dedicated teachers, and parent volunteers.

      I am a 321 parent of a 1st grader. I can tell you that, while we have only been in the school for a relatively short time, we have been extremely pleased with the services we’ve received.

      Brklyn – while I disagree strongly with your assertion that the administration of the school is somehow less than special, I must fully agree that there is a self-perpetuating feedback loop at schools like 321. Real estate values go up, wealthier more financially successful parents move in with their children, PTAs get more funds, and the school improves thereby driving the next level of the loop. With that said – this loop is deeply ingrained at 321, and establishing the sort of culture that is present here will take time and effort and dedication on behalf of the new school’s teachers, administration and PTA.

  • Work on improving 282 and stop whining.

  • Just to continue the thought – what will be funny/sad/predictable is when the “321 kids” go to this new school and the school turns out to be as good or better than 321 (mediocre) and everyone will attribute it to 1. The “parent involvement” in this new school 2. District 15s commitment to making this new school great. 3. The ‘new administration’.

    What no one will ask is how is it that a new school will be able to match the performance of an established and self-declared “elite” school so rapidly.

  • To “brkynmind”–couldn’t have said it better myself! A few months ago a ridiculous report was published ranking the best NYC schools (I forget the source), and, guess what, all our fave PS schools (321, 107, 10, 39) were in the top handful of schools city-wide. Preposterous: we all know what makes a “great” school–like a great basketball team or anything else, it’s a combination of top-notch individual staff talent and terrific leadership. What are the chances, really, that our beloved PS teachers and administrators are really that much more talented than the teachers at other schools that “nobody” has ever heard of in Queens, etc? They might skew slightly for some reasons having to do with these schools being considered desirable to teach in, etc. but given the big ed and union bureaucracy I doubt there’s much difference. But we love our schools!

    Anyone want to read between the lines and predict the changes? My guess is that all the areas south of 3rd st and west of 5th ave go to the new school. sorry, novo.

    • Actually you are mostly wrong and have probably not visited public schools in non-white neighborhoods. Are there PCB’s leaking on kids at PS 321? I think not! The fact is that motivated teachers get concentrated in affluent zones. Short termers and non-motivated get concentrated in non-affluent zones. PS321 has an art studio. My kids don’t even have a science lab. That being said, any school concentrating the precious children of Park Slope will be among the best – it will have more resources, it will not be co-located with a charter school, it will have motivated teachers and administration, it will concentrate children of people who matter and who know who to call if something is not right. And it will not include many problem children. Those are just facts – all of them create a superior learning environment. And as for bashing unions and teachers, lets remember that every Ivy league college in this country is unionized from the custodians to the professors.

      EME

  • Just curious, Bklynmind: what is your experience with 321 and Liz Phillips, and how did you come to the conclusion that the administration and staff are all “UFT hacks”?

    Just because a school attracts high-performing students and involved families, it doesn’t automatically follow that the teachers and staff are then less motivated to help their students reach their potential. Involved parents, by definition, can see exactly how hard these teachers are working.

    For you to denigrate these teachers without mentioning how they manage large classrooms with kids of differing abilities, come up with creative lesson plans and have the time, at each parent’s request, for insightful discussion about what’s going on w/ any of their 32 students at any given time… well, I know for a fact your child could not have had any of the same teachers that my kids did at 321. And before you assume this is all Park Slope/Lake Wobegone smugness and self-satisfaction, my kids are now in an equally sought-after middle school, and I can see that the quality of the teaching is not as strong across the board.

    Though if your purpose is to counter some of 321′s hype and encourage people to research some of the other fine schools in D15, that’s ok with me. Just don’t bash teachers and administrators without something real to back it up!

  • If you ever wanted to create a firestorm of criticism, an outcry of horror from parents, redrawing the zone lines for PS 321 is surely the way to do it. But the school is bursting at the seams. The school was built to house a few hundred kids. It’s now home to more than 1200. Something has to give.

  • I have had children at 321, I am very familiar with Liz Phillips and the Staff. I acknowledge that some of the Staff is excellent ( as is the case at many public schools) but there are significant issues with other members of the staff (professional and otherwise) and Ms. Phillips main goal is to protect staff and avoid union confrontation as well as continue to promote the propaganda that 321 is somehow ‘better’ than other Public schools (again with the ordinary bureaucratic goal of CYA).

    The teachers/staff at 321 face significantly LESS challenges than most P.S. teachers…who also all generally “manage large classrooms ” have to MUCH MORE deal with “kids of differing abilities” and MUCH MORE often kids from troubled situations, “come up with creative lesson plans” and have the time,” insightful discussion about what’s going on w/ any of their 32 students”
    Except that there are few if any classes at PS 321 that have anywhere near 32 students. And a significant number of the teachers are unable to have “insightful” conversations about each child – because they simply dont have that level of engagement.

    Ultimately Petunia reality is sort of the opposite of what your statement was – a school that attracts “high-performing students and involved families” makes it FAR FAR easier to exceed the low bar that public schools set for their students – thereby creating a false sense of “excellence” [and this defines 321 perfectly]

  • Let me just say for clarity- I am not saying that 321 is a “bad” school. I am simply saying it is, like most schools (especially union run ones) mediocre.
    There are great teachers, ok teachers and bad teachers. Kids get an education – some good – some bad – most ok.
    If you are an average student, who requires average teaching in an ordinary public school environment then 321 will be great (it isnt some dangerous or troubled school – it is an average public school fulfilling the mandate of public schools everywhere) – and “average” at 321 is (due to the advantaged population) better than average in the DOE at large.
    But to make it out like Liz Phillips is running some elite school where the kids are getting a premier education or where your kids individual needs (either positive or negative) can be met is just self-delusion, supported by outside factors (like parents and homeowners) .

    BTW – I went to a NY Public School and received the same “average education” that is the mandate of the entire system.

    • I guess I can kind of see where you’re going with this, brk, but not sure I agree with you that it’s an average school, based on our own experiences. We have two kids at 321 (our 4th year there), and my wife and I have been *very happy* with the education they’ve received so far. Would I call it an “elite” education? No. (What would that really mean in the 4th grade, anyway? Teaching 4th graders integral calculus?) But I would call it “above average,” based largely on my own recollection of my public school education in South Carolina and Ohio growing up, and talking with friends who have kids in public schools in other cities like Chicago. Again, that’s only my perception. But we have yet to be anything less than totally impressed with the teachers we’ve encountered at 321. Maybe we just haven’t hit one of your so-called “hacks” yet. But with only another year left for our oldest, the odds are growing slimmer.

  • @brklynmind – Have you spent much time in other public elementary schools in NYC lately? How about just within a few blocks of PS 321? Speaking comparatively, the kids at 321 get a stellar education compared to their peers at other public elementary schools. One of the reasons for this is that the wealthy parents in the surrounding neighborhood are able to raise an extraordinary amount of money for the school. This enables the faculty to enrich their students’ educations in a way that most public schools can’t. One can make an argument that a public education will never be equal across community lines as long as parents are able to raise funds in a discriminant manner. Meaning, as long as Liz Phillips and principles like her are able to depend on tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by parents every year, they will be able to provide resources for the students that go above and beyond what most public elementary schools can do. Meanwhile, a few miles away, children in Red Hook suffer because their parents can not come close to matching the funds that parents in Park Slope can raise. One would think that the supposed social justice oriented people of Park Slope would want to raise money for schools in Red Hook and Bed Stuy so that those children have a chance to succeed in a way that equals that of the Park Slope children. Instead, by disproportionately funding schools like PS 321 through profitable fundraisers, isn’t the 321 community perpetuating socioeconomic inequality? Just a thought.

  • Bklynmind, You’re right about one thing. Our entire idea of a “good” school these days (in Brownstone Brooklyn at least) has nothing to do with the staff or facilities and everything to do with the racial ethnic and socioeconomic make up of the student-body. (Which is precisely why so many Park Slopies want to get their kids into 321–i.e. no poor minorities!) But to attack the teacher’s union for the school system’s problems is just utter Romney-esque bullshit. The reason why kids in poorer schools aren’t reading at grade level has nothing to do with the quality of the teaching and everything to do with the fact that these kids are living in dysfunctional homes, some even in shelters, and barely getting enough nutrition. To ask teachers to compensate for all those disadvantages in the six hours a day these kids are in school is just an impossible task. Moreover, as in every profession (and probably even at 321) some practitioners of the trade are amazing; some are mediocre. Why paint with such a broad brush? My kid’s first grade teacher this year at PS 261–where, incidentally, there are an average of 21 kids in all the K and first grade class this year

  • Bklynmind, You’re right about one thing. Our entire idea of a “good” school these days (in Brownstone Brooklyn at least) has nothing to do with the staff or facilities and everything to do with the racial ethnic and socioeconomic make up of the student-body. (Which is precisely why so many Park Slopies want to get their kids into 321–i.e. no poor minorities!) But to attack the teacher’s union for the school system’s problems is just utter Romney-esque bullshit. The reason why kids in poorer schools aren’t reading at grade level has nothing to do with the quality of the teaching and everything to do with the fact that these kids are living in dysfunctional homes, some even in shelters, and barely getting enough nutrition. To ask teachers to compensate for all those disadvantages in the six hours a day these kids are in school is just an impossible task. Moreover, as in every profession (and probably even at 321) some practitioners of the trade are amazing; some are mediocre. Why paint with such a broad brush? My kid’s first grade teacher this year at PS 261–where, incidentally, there are an average of 21 kids in all the K and first grade class this year

  • woops–hit “post” too soon. As I was saying, my kid’s first grade teacher this year seems like a total dynamo. Also, it’s not all yuppie kids, so she’s dealing with an incredible range of abilities. Not an easy task. So far it’s working.

  • DIBS–its too easy to chalk it up to unions. My kid goes to Brooklyn New School, which manages to be an excellent public school with a truly diverse student body, and all of the facilities that many other schools are lacking. It is staffed by union teachers and administrators. The difference is the incredibly motivated parental body who makes up for budgetary shortfalls with PTA-raised funds and provides the arts and music education that would be impossible otherwise. Any school is only as good as the energy put into it by its parents.

  • Please – funding has ZERO to do with it. You think the extra 300k (or whatever) that the 321 parents raise makes significant difference on the education of 1000+ kids – please cite one REAL example of where $ at 321 (or any other similar situated public school) allowed for resources that directly impacted the education of the kids there.

    boerumblah, I am not blaming the unions for the teachers inability to have a major impact on bringing disadvantaged (financial or otherwise) kids to par with kids not so affected – that would be ridiculous.
    But Unions (especially public sector) do promote a culture of mediocrity, stasis and CYA – and if you do not acknowledge that then you are living in a fantasy world.

  • If according to real estate expert, Liz Philips, central slope real estate takes a hit, won’t that in turn drive up prices in the now smaller 321 school zone?

  • Is this proposed new school supposed only take kids from PS321 and PS39?
    My son just started kindegarten at 321 this year and we are very happy with it so far. Parents are very involved, we have PA activities almost every other week and parents are helping after school programs, lunch, field trips, fund raising etc. So if the new school has the same back ground then it will should be fine. With that being said, I wouldn’t risk my children’s education to make the point.

  • @brklynmind – BOE cutted the budget for PS 321 $800/child this year, but with parents donation and fund raising, the PA were able to spend $580/child. The PA also target to raise 1M this year. With the additional funding from the PA, the school can allocate more of the budget to the classrooms and PA can pick the tab for other expenses.

  • @brklynmind – BOE cutted the budget for PS 321 $800/child this year, but with parents donation and fund raising, the PA were able to spend $580/child. The PA also target to raise 1M this year. With the additional funding from the PA, the school can allocate more of the budget to the classrooms and PA can pick the tab for other expenses.

  • I posted this earlier but it didn;t go through – Brklynmind, I cannot speak directly to your experience, but your reality is a far cry from what I saw every day for over 10 years. Part of what people like about Ms. Phillips is her ability to communicate on behalf of the teachers, parents and students. Many principals, including some at sought-after local schools, cannot manage this balance and are perceived as out of touch or even hostile to the concerns of one or the other, or both.
    The upper grades do have 32 kids now, same as last year. They can’t go beyond 34.
    The school is overhyped, def. not perfect, and with its own pros and cons, but it is still an excellent school – parental involvement is part of that, but parents and kids aren’t the whole story, much as you’d like to think.
    Out of the dozen or so teachers my kids had at 321, I can only think of 1 that couldn’t give me helpful feedback about my student. The teachers are usually out on the playground after pick-up, so they can talk with any parent who has an issue.
    And while, yes, 321 does not compare to many other brooklyn schools in this regard, it’s a fallacy to think that all the kids are bright, focused and ready to learn. Or that all the parents are sane.
    I know you really want to badmouth 321, but it’s known as one of the most competitive teaching gigs in the system, and prospective teachers really have to show motivation and smarts to get hired. The teachers that I know put a lot of themselves into the job, much more so than at a “regular” job. I am sure it is that way at lower-performing schools too – in fact, I know it is (look at some of the schools in the John Jay bldg.). Teachers at 321 that can’t meet the school’s standards tend to be eased out before they hit the 3-year mark.
    I’m sorry your experience was not so great. But you can’t just say the majority of teachers are slacking. I feel that since they’ve gone above and beyond for my kids, I owe it to these teachers to defend them, even if it’s just on the snarky old internet. And extending your argument to include all “union-run” schools doesn’t hold up either.
    I don’t like arguing, it takes way too much time. Back to work.

  • RE: 321 resources/environment – I know first hand that in fact, they NO longer have an art studio due to over-crowding (was turned into classroom). As for PCBs leaking on them, I sadly suspect there are plenty of toxins there – not something they are immune from despite the presence of wealthy families in the student body.

  • Not only have I visited the “non-white” public schools you mention, but in an earlier life I taught in a few of them.
    They were all the same 50-60s era construction that PS 321 is (and which I went to school in), no PCBs and actually less roaches in the cafeteria that I saw at 321.

    And run-joe thanks for highlighting the statement about RE Brokers made by Liz Phillips, I think it subtly reflects the exact cynical mentality I was describing.

  • Yes! I have an idea! How about if you live out of zone/out of district, your kids are no longer eligible to attend these schools? Anecdotally I feel like half the people I know who bought houses in Ditmas still send their kids to school in Park Slope. How is this fair?

    • It’s called gaming the system, and you’re right that alot of the Park Slope transplants to Ditmas have done this. I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to make kids change schools when they move, but I understand it is a huge problem with this particular school that people will rent for a year to get their kid in there and then move.

      • I have heard the “it’s hard to transfer the kids” line from so many people, you know, sotto voce, but if they move to Montclair or Larchmont and not to Beverly Square West, their kids have to change schools, too. Now people like me who bought in District 15 (and in my case in the 107 district) suddenly find out that the schools we thought we were zoned for might not take our kids after all. I get that there are no guarantees but these exceptions need to stop to level the playing field for those who actually do try to play by the rules. (ETA Jaguar – not yelling at you and hope it didn’t come across like that. It’s just frustrating. And unfair.)

  • Jaguar – It is a huge problem, but it’s also why the school is more economically and ethnically diverse than its zone would suggest.

    And for run-joe – it wasn’t Liz Phillips who made the real estate broker comment; the post above now attributes it correctly to the D15 CEC president.

  • @brklynmind – Are you out of your mind? Just walk into any classroom at PS 321 and then walk into a classroom at a school in Red Hook or East New York. All those nice things you see in the PS 321 classroom, all those lesson plan resources the teacher has at her disposal, all those art materials, all those extracurricular activities, all those things that encourage a child to expand his or mind that exist at 321 and not at the poor schools are there because their parents are able to raise money for the school. Get your head out of your you know what…

  • Its funny you mention Red hook – PS 15 Patrick Daley School – know it well.
    There is NOTHING and I mean nothing that PS 321 has that PS 15 doesnt have – and that was years ago – before any gentrification took place in Red Hook, before Ikea, before Fairway, before everything but the Red Hook Houses. And now, PS 15 actually has a significantly better playground than 321.
    Yes I know exactly what I am talking about – do you??????

  • If PS 15 has all of those same things then it’s very likely that someone at PS 15 is good at writing grant applications because the DOE elementary school budget doesn’t provide enough funding per student for all of those things. I do know what I am talking about. I come from a family of public school educators.

  • The elementary school budget doesnt have enough money for…lesson plans?????
    What planet are you on. NYS spends more per pupil than ANY OTHER STATE IN THE UNION.

    The children in the areas you cited (and many others) have huge structural disadvantages (through no fault of their own, and sometimes related to the Educational System itself) but lack of funding is way way way down on the list (if its even there at all)

  • It’s interesting sitting in district 13 and seeing this play out for 15. I mean, sort of interesting.

  • Bklynmind is right that the Red Hook elementary school probably has all kinds of nifty extras for the simple reason that it is Title I school (i.e. I think you have to be more than 50% free lunch to qualify), which means it gets federal funding. One of the reasons that the elementary schools in wealth zip codes feel the need to raise so much money is because the student body is too privileged to qualify for such things. Plus, they’ve been hit by state budget cuts. . . . But of course the real/ultimate perk to being at a school like 321 is being surrounded ENTIRELY by middle class and above kids. (Please, let’s not pretend there’s any ethnic or economic diversity over there.)

    • As a 321 parent I can confirm that the 321 student population is predominately white and privileged, but to say that it is ENTIRELY (your choice of all caps) middle class and that there is no ethnic or economic diversity is simply not true.

      The hysterics that this issue generate are pretty entertaining though.

      • As a parent of a child who does not go to PS 321 (pretty much by choice, we are renters, and when I was looking at apartments, “not in Park Slope,” was my first qualification)–your defense of your school’s diversity is a little weak. Look, it’s a rich school in a rich neighborhood. It is a huge success story. You don’t have to point out the few families that have children on reduced lunch to make yourself feel better.

  • Kudos to the DOE for addressing the overcrowding problem in a sensible way. They are opening a new school, just like they did on the UWS and lower Manhattan, when well-regarded zoned publics became overcrowded. That is a GOOD thing — there is absolutely no reason the new school should be below par and any parent concerned about sending a child there probably doesn’t have much experience with the public schools system. People love 452 on the UWS because it is smaller than PS 87. Instead of dismissing the new school, parents should simply jump in and get involved. Opening a brand new school is far better than forcing overflow students into an underused failing school, another idea that has been bandied about. I suspect the DOE knows the politics of doing that are far more difficult.

    Frankly, this kind of rezoning is exactly the way the DOE should deal with overcrowding issues. It’s far better than allowing charter schools, like Success Academy, to move into these affluent neighborhoods and pick off kids whose parents fear they will get shut out of their excellent zoned school. I would rather my tax dollars pay for a new DOE operated school instead of paying charter school operators to open one. And I’d rather see my tax dollars spent on paying unionized teachers a good wage instead of paying a charter school CEO half a million dollars to run a few schools.

  • i agree with heather that this is kind of hilarious, only kind of. it’s funny because even though some people are complaining (people who were simultaneously neurotic enough to buy a place in ps 321 when their kids were 2, but not smart enough to know that the DOE changes everything every year and that a chronically overcrowded zone is their first target), any new zoned or new lottery school in this area is going to be 85% affluent in about three years anyway, and everyone will be patting themselves on the back at what an educational utopia they created from scratch. but also in about three years you will see schools that didn’t get over the gentrification hump by 2012 backslide into segregation (the poor kind, not the rich kind), become underenrolled, and turned into charter schools, and that’s not so funny. that’s what jim devor seems to be fighting against with respect to ps 133 and admissions preferences for at-risk kids, and i think he’s absolutely correct to do so.

    all you need to do to understand the dynamic is look at how some d13 zoned schools have struggled despite massive gentrification. some of that is endemic, but these schools would be doing a lot better if the DOE weren’t trying to decimate them with “choice” schools. the school-reformy line is that such schools are more “diverse” because they are district-wide, and that may be true if you’re looking at the color of kids’ faces. but in reality the main difference is that these schools are far more affluent because they drain a highly disproportionate number of the middle class from the zoned schools, based largely on their parents’ desire to get them away from the poorer kids and the challenges associated with them. a new unzoned lottery school at ps 133 will pretty much immediately kneecap ps 282, ps 295, ps 38, ps 124, probably even with devor’s preferences.

    yeah, there’s a lot that can be said on this subject, but the result has very little to do with economic justice, or the constitution, or whatever it is the DOE is pretending they’re doing.

  • According to Insideschools, enrollment is 8% black, 10% hispanic, 71% white. The diversity of the student body has certainly declined over the last 10 or 15 years, and it’s a trend that the school is quite concerned about, though unsure how they’d address it without overhauling admissions policy. I think sweet lou was just trying to say, for the sake of accuracy, that the 321 families are not 100% homogenous as some were saying, though (esp. in relation to nyc public schools overall) the population is indeed predominantly white (no sense arguing that).

    Honestly, I think the odds are far and away that the new school on 4th ave. is going to be a great addition to the neighborhood. The existing zones were drawn many years before residential zoning was changed to allow all those condo and rental towers. The creation of so many additional housing units within the zones has, in effect, expanded the zones of 321, 107 and 39 so they contain far more families than the original growth projections had intended, and more units are in the works. So a correction is badly needed.