February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Advocacy Group: NYC Has “Huge Inequities” in Distribution of High School Resources

A new report by New York City’s Independent Budget Office (IBO), requested by the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE)—a local legislative and education policy advocacy group—exposes “huge inequities” in the distribution of resources and programs in New York City high schools, AQE announced today. According to AQE’s analysis of the data [PDF], black and Latino students, English language learners (ELL), and those New York City students eligible for free or reduced price lunches are being denied opportunities available to many of their white and Asian counterparts.

“AQE requested this report from the IBO to offer proof to the inequities we’ve known to be true for years and the Department of Education’s own data shows that we’re right,” says Zakiyah Ansari, the director of advocacy for AQE, in today’s media announcement.

“While there’s a lot more of our students, there’s a lot less for our students,” Ansari says. “[Mayor] Bloomberg has perpetuated a ‘tale of two school systems’ by failing to close the opportunity gap, and the result is only 12 percent of black and Latino students graduating college-ready.”

AQE notes that, according to the data:

  • Black and Latino students have half the number of Advanced Placement courses than their white/Asian counterparts.
  • Black and Latino students and poor students have fewer science, music, art subjects, and rooms, and are less likely to have a library, medical office, or gym in their building than their white/Asian counterparts.
  • White and Asian students attend schools with almost twice as many science labs as schools attended by poor, black and Latino students.
  • English Language Learners are far less likely to have a library and medical office in their school building.

“For the past 12 years, our schools have been starved of resources, neglected and many times set up for failure. We’ve lost space, classrooms, teachers, and books. We’ve had our libraries closed, our health clinics shut down, all in schools that serve students that look just like me,” says Joseph Duarte, 17, a student at Samuel Gompers Career and Technical High School and a member of the Urban Youth Collaborative, in AQE’s announcement. “We need a school system where all young people in our communities have access to strong supportive schools. More guidance counselors, college advisors, art programs, Advanced Placement courses. Why is it that the schools that need more, get a lot less?”

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson (kpeterson@mediasourceinc.com) is a former News Editor ofSLJ.

Building Literacy-Rich Communities
Hosted by Library Journal and School Library JournalStronger Together is a national gathering of thought leaders and innovators from across the country who will share where and how partnerships between school districts and public libraries are having success. Join us May 10–12 at the University of Nebraska Omaha, as we explore the impact these collaborations are having on the institutions, communities, and kids they serve.