How families choose NYC schools, in Black, Brown, white and Asian – New York Daily News – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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By Chantal A. Hailey

New York Daily News

Jan 23, 2022 8:00 AM

New York City is one of the most racially diverse cities in the United States. Its public school system is also one of the most racially segregated. One explanation for this dissonance is what the popular New York Times podcast has referred to as “nice white parents” — white parents who pride themselves on living in a diverse city but don’t send their kids to Black neighborhood schools, even when they otherwise proudly live in those neighborhoods. Instead, they go to great lengths to choose public schools, private and parochial schools with sizable numbers of white students.

My research team and I recently conducted an experiment with a racially diverse group of 500 parents attending New York City high school fairs. We asked them to rank their preferences, for their kids, for a variety of hypothetical high schools. We included information on such things as graduation rates, safety ratings, metal detector presence and extra-curricular activities.

What we found was that race was central to how many parents choose schools.

Consistent with the “nice white parents” narrative, white parents expressed a raci


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