Nicole Hannah-Jones weaves a personal story with our awful social history in this compelling piece for the New York Times:
Last June, de Blasio signed the School Diversity Accountability Act into law. But the law mandates only that the Department of Education report segregation numbers, not that it do anything to integrate schools. De Blasio declined to be interviewed, but when asked at a news conference in November why the city did not at least do what it could to redraw attendance lines, he defended the property rights of affluent parents who buy into neighborhoods to secure entry into heavily white schools. “You have to also respect families who have made a decision to live in a certain area,” he said, because families have “made massive life decisions and investments because of which school their kid would go to.” The mayor suggested there was little he could do because school segregation simply was a reflection of New York’s stark housing segregation, entrenched by decades of discriminatory local and federal policy. “This is the history of America,” he said.
Of course, de Blasio is right: Housing segregation and school segregation have always been entwined in America. But the opportunity to buy into “good” neighborhoods with “good” schools that de Blasio wants to protect has never been equally available to all. . . .