After months of heated discussion over the rezoning of two public schools in Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill — raising issues of segregation, social class and gentrification — District 13’s Community Education Council (CEC) voted Tuesday in favor of redrawing both school zones.
Starting with the next school year, kids living in Dumbo — Brooklyn’s most expensive nabe — will be zoned to attend Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307 rather than the overcrowded P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights.
Is this a win for integration and educational equity?
The racial and economic differences between students at the two schools became a touchstone in the wake of a 2014 UCLA report that found New York’s schools are some of the most segregated in the country.
P.S. 8’s current students are 60 percent white and come from the wealthy Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo neighborhoods. P.S. 307’s students are 90 percent black or Hispanic and the current zone includes the Farragut Houses housing project, reported the New York Times.
“We all know that our school system in New York City is in a lot of ways very segregated,” Councilmember Stephen Levin said at Tuesday’s meeting, according to DNAinfo. “[This] is an opportunity to say we want to leave school segregation in the past and that we want to move forward. We owe that to our children.”
Parents at Tuesday’s meeting continued to express concerns over the rezoning. Some whose children currently attend P.S. 307 feared that the school’s S.T.E.M. magnet program would become overcrowded. Other parents balked at the idea of sending their kids to a school with lower test scores than the high-performing P.S. 8.
While the district’s Community Education Council acknowledged these concerns, the majority agreed with Levin, voting 6-3 in favor of the rezoning.
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