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Park Slope is now ground zero in de Blasio’s drive to impose quotas on city schools

Park Slope is now ground zero in de Blasio’s drive to impose quotas on city schools

Park Slope is the next front in Mayor de Blasio’s drive to remake the city’s middle schools — in this case, by eliminating academic screening in admissions in favor of quotas intended to impose racial balance. And the Department of Education has made it clear that any parents who object will be deemed bigots.
As Melkorka Licea and Susan Edelman reported in Sunday’s Post, the DOE hired outside consultants to run community meetings in the runup to the plan’s release — meetings where potential opposition was directly compared to white Southerners fighting desegregation decades ago. The message, said one mom: “If you’re opposed to this plan, you’re a racist from 1950s Alabama.”
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza also telegraphed the approach by retweeting a news story headlined, “Wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools” about resistance on the Upper West Side.
Yet the plan for Brooklyn’s District 15 (which stretches from Prospect Park to Fort Greene, Sunset Park and Red Hook) is even more radical than the West Side one: 10 of the district’s 11 middle schools now use grades, test scores and attendance as part of selective admissions policies; all that goes out the window. Instead, each school must use quotas (based on income and immigration or homeless status) to fill 52 percent of its seats. The UWS plan had “only” 25 percent quotas.
Parents who’d hoped their kids would get into MS 51, widely seen as the district’s top middle school, must now wonder if the school will remain excellent — and what other schools the new quotas might push them into.
Mayor de Blasio’s two children attended MS 51; so did City Councilman Brad Lander’s kids. Lander, who endorsed the new plan before holding a community meeting on it last week (where he refused to take questions from the crowd), says he wishes it had been in effect for his children. Easy enough to say now.
Park Slope, like the Upper West Side, is full of higher-earning white progressives. (De Blasio actually got his start in local politics on the District 15 board.) The mayor’s team clearly decided to start with areas least likely to resist schemes that are sold as pro-equality. And the combination of carefully curated “community involvement,” intimidation and raw power may well succeed — politically, and in the short term.
But if the result is that parents have no good public-school choices for their children, they’ll react — opting for private schools and/or moving out of town. Ham-handed desegregation has left Boston with a public-school system that’s just 12 percent white — in a liberal city (with a mayor more progressive than New York’s) that’s still more than half-white.
De Blasio doesn’t care if his “desegregation” drive actually leaves the city’s schools more segregated: He just wants “victories” that look good to a national progressive audience that will never have a clue about the realities of New York.
Does anyone in city government have the guts to call him on it?

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