Originally posted at the School Diversity Notebook

There’s been a few major stories related to school diversity recently, and this post is a quick (and small) collection of some of the best coverage/resources I’ve come across. Since readers are likely quite familiar with each of these, I’m keeping my summaries extremely short. I mainly just want to put these out there, in case you’ve missed anything or if you find yourself wanting to go back to these in the future.

I limited myself to three links for each topic: Affirmative action, the SCOTUS term, and the ongoing debate about specialized high school admission policies in NYC.

Affirmative Action

In early July, the Trump administration withdrew Obama-era guidance on Affirmative Action in public K-12 student assignment policies and in university admissions policies. As many have pointed out, the Obama administration guidance was merely an interpretation of existing law and judicial precedent; so, removing this guidance doesn’t legally change anything, though it does leave schools with fewer resources for interpreting and implementing existing law. Here are a few great resources on this:

SCOTUS and Janus

This was obviously an extremely consequential term at the Supreme Court. In very limited space, I want to offer links/articles about Janus and about changes to the court after Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. Janus, of course, is a major setback for teachers’ unions. Although its impact on school diversity is uncertain, it clearly will not lead to improvements. Here are a few great articles on this:

  • Published at the Intercept, freelance writer Rachel Cohen reports on her visit to the NEA’s national conference. There’s interesting stuff here about anti-labor (and pro-labor!) lawsuits and legislation that may now come to light in a post-Janus world.
  • The New York Times has an interesting discussion, including concrete evidence, of unions’ role in reducing income inequality.
  • And, Andre Perry looks at what a more conservative court will mean for immigrants students’ rights. It’s not good. He ends with this call to action:
    • “Oppressors have come for so many that we are scared to speak out against what is happening in the country. But history is repeating itself. People of color, women, LGBTQ people and Muslims share a common destiny, and we can change the future — together — if we speak out for immigrants today.”

NYC

There’s been a vibrant debate about admissions policies to specialized high schools in NYC as well as bold leadership from the new school’s chancellor, Richard Carranza. Because there are many great advocates and journalists working on/covering this issue, I’ve paid less attention to it in my writing. In case you want to catch up though, I wanted to note these great stories from Chalkbeat:

  • This article briefly discusses the Carranza’s early tenure as chancellor and includes a full speech that he gave at a recent town hall. In it, he says: “It’s important that we put the real issue on the table, and the issue on the table is this: In one of the most diverse cities — not in America, in the world — in the largest school district in America —a school district that is a public school system — do we really provide opportunities for everyone?”
  • Meanwhile, this article was written by a researcher who recently looked into the merits and shortcomings of the city’s specialized high school admissions test, or SHSAT. Based on data from nearly 28,000 students he found that “the SHSAT was a very imprecise predictor of future success for students who scored near the cutoffs.” The test is currently used as the only criteria for entrance into 8 of the city’s 9 specialized schools. The article discusses important alternatives.
  • And, my last link is actually many links. Monica Disare has been a great resource for stories about specialized high schools as well as other educational inequities in NYC. She’s leaving Chalkbeat soon and the twitter thread here is sort of a greatest hits. It includes stories about secret applications in non-specialized schools and about a public (!) school that requires students speak English and pay $350 for an IQ test.

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