MANHATTAN — It’s no secret that New York City public schools are highly segregated.
But under the City Council’s School Diversity Accountability Act, the city's Department of Education will be required to publicly release detailed demographic data for the first time this week.
That includes breakdowns of gifted and talented programs and special needs students — details that will hopefully help educators, parents and advocates pushing for reforms, according to Park Slope City Councilman Brad Lander, who sponsored the legislation.
In advance of the release, DNAinfo is looking back at a series of data interactives we did analyzing schools diversity data.
The results were stark:
At more than half of the city's 1,600 public schools, black and Latino students make up 90 percent or more of the student population, DNAinfo found using DOE data from 2013-14.
As shown in our map, half of the city's white students are concentrated in just 7 percent of the schools, and half of the city's Asian students are concentrated in just 6 percent of schools.
The city’s roughly 100 Gifted and Talented programs were 70 percent white or Asian students, compared to a system that is roughly 30 percent white or Asian overall, DNAinfo found in an analysis of Education Department data obtained through a FOIL request.
The DOE will be forced to publicly release this G&T data and other detailed demographic data — including special needs students, English language learners, students who reside in temporary housing and students attending schools outside of the district where they live — by Dec. 31.
That's far more than the department was previously required to report.
Following DNAinfo's coverage of the city's failure to take steps to address the lack of diversity in its admissions policies, officials approved pilot admissions for seven Brooklyn and Manhattan elementary schools.
These schools will now give priority to to low-income students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, English Language Learners (ELLs) or students in the child welfare system.
Chancellor Carmen Fariña — who had initially rejected those schools' efforts to modify their admissions policies while telling parents that having students at affluent schools be pen pals with students at less affluent schools — said she hoped the pilot would serve as a model for schools across the city.
Farina has yet to give any more details about other plans the DOE for addressing segregation.
Because this is the first year of requiring the data, Lander expects the figures released this week will help establish some benchmarks that can be used when looking at trends in future years.
The department will have to issue an annual report that will include extensive school-by-school data, down to the grade level, as well as information on the admissions process used by each school or special program, such as whether they accept students via lottery, tests or geographic zone.
The law also requires the DOE to outline its efforts and initiatives to strengthen diversity.
“I’d love to see some indications of where [the DOE] is headed,” Lander said of the forthcoming report.
“I don’t know if that will be included," he said, but either way, "We will continue the advocacy.”