Advocating for Integrated Schools and Communities

Spring Newsletter 2022

Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 11.13.31 AM.png

New York Appleseed Releases Research Briefing on Yellow Bus Service in New York City

NYC Yellow Bus Service.png

Transportation has become increasingly salient in discussions regarding school integration. As schools and districts in NYC look to implement diversity plans, they often must also address the question of access for students who reside in transportation deserts or need extra assistance to attend an inclusive school setting. Despite being a common topic in integration planning, it is difficult to find clear information on both the history and usage of yellow bus service in New York City.

To remedy the dearth of accessible information on yellow bus service, New York Appleseed is publishing our Yellow Bus Service Research Briefing. The briefing provides the legal history of yellow-bus service, an analysis of the most recent available data on the usage of yellow-bus service for NYC, and recommendations garnered from our research. Despite the importance of transportation for students to be able to get to school each day, the data on yellow-bus service and student transit in NYC is often incomplete or not made widely available. With the information provided in this briefing and our recommendations for greater transparency and accountability to students and families who rely on this resource, we hope to spur action by city leadership on this long-standing issue.

Read More

Appleseed Doubles Down on Advocacy Efforts as Segregated Gifted & Talented Programs are Reinstated

On April 14th Chancellor Banks and Mayor Adams announced their plan to expand on the current Gifted and Talented (G&T) program that separates and segregates our youngest students across racial and socioeconomic lines. This announcement reverses the previous administration’s eleventh hour decision to phase out G&T programs in favor of a more inclusive model that would have provided accelerated and enriching learning to all NYC public school students. This announcement disregards numerous reports, research and advocacy efforts that all recommend the elimination of segregated G&T programs, as highlighted in a detailed letter we sent to Chancellor Banks prior to this announcement.

Appleseed also released a statement-signed by 18 other organizations and communities-in response to this unfortunate reversal, emphasizing that any expansion of the current G&T programming will only proliferate and exacerbate the detrimental and segregative effects of these programs. Furthermore, we stress that any expansion of a still limited number of seats does nothing to end the model of scarcity present in NYC public schools, despite the Chancellor's recent comments stating so. As Appleseed's executive director, Nyah Berg points out in this article and other experts underscore-a standard of competition for access to public programs NYC's youngest students want and need is fundamentally wrong. Appleseed will continue to hold the administration accountable by building on our long-standing advocacy for the creation of policy that will allow all of our youngest students to access inclusive schools.

Ensuring Equity in Infrastructure Spending

New York Appleseed partnered with 15 other Appleseed centers, the Appleseed Network, the Shriver Center on Poverty Law and the Shriver Center's Legal Impact Network to call on the Secretary of Transportation, Peter Buttigieg, to center Title VI of the Civil Rights Act at the forefront of the federal government's funding decisions and spending oversight in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to ensure that all Americans are able to reap the benefits of the infrastructure package. Executive director, Nyah Berg, stated:

Laws and policies with an intent to forward equity rarely do so without accountability. The Biden Administration has an incredible opportunity to be intentional in sustaining and creating pathways for equity with the historic passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. We hope this letter can provide guidance on ways Title VI programs must hold the Office of the Secretary accountable to ensuring that the needs of all communities, regardless of race, color, or national origin, are not overlooked or ignored.

The letter urges Secretary Buttigieg to ensure the Office of the Secretary of Transportation has a robust and effective Title VI program, a process for public complaints and transparency in Title VI program evaluations, vigilant enforcement of existing Title VI regulations that prevent discrimination and acknowledges the urgency of engagement with impacted communities. Read the full letter here.

Appleseed’s Guidance and Support During the Transition of NYC’s Appointed Leadership

High School Admissions Update

The Next Step report.png

At the beginning of March, NYC's School Chancellor stated that he was considering making changes to the high school admission process a week before applications were due. Appleseed partnered with the Fordham Law School's Feerick Center High School Application Advisory Committee (HSAAC) to draft a letter imploring the Chancellor not to make any last-minute changes to the admissions process and gathered sign-ons from 41 parents and organizations. On March 9th, the Chancellor announced that he would not be making any changes in the high school admissions process this year, in alignment with the recommendations in our letter. Appleseed stands ready to ensure that any policy changes to the high school admission process are equitable, center integration and are in line with The Next Step report.

Resource Guide

Resource Guide to Real Integration.png

In February, Appleseed, along with members of the Integration Coalition, compiled a resource guide on the Movement for Integration describing the work of students, families, educators and advocates to dismantle school segregation and lay the groundwork for Real Integration over the past decade in New York City. This comprehensive resource document provides guidance for newly appointed city leadership on the work that has been done, the tools at their disposal, and the policies and laws that require accountability for Real Integration.

Call for COVID Stimulus Funds to Prioritize Equity and Recovery

New York Appleseed appreciates the transparency and call for accountability in a recent report from the Comptroller's office that found that NYC's Department of Education has been slow to spend federal COVID stimulus funds for fiscal year 2022, with spending on investments in services for special education, mental health, restorative justice and CRSE being especially far behind where it should be at this point in the year. Executive director, Nyah Berg, expressed concern and was quoted in the press release stating:

"A transition in administration cannot be an excuse for the lack of transparency and accountability we have had to date on the NYCDOE’s stimulus spending for critical resources to support students and families. New York Appleseed finds the information in this report concerning, as it underscores a historical pattern of divestment in the resources and programming all students–particularly students from historically marginalized communities–need to thrive in school. The exceedingly minimal spending in investments for special education and in programming that supports equitable, inclusive, and integrated schools such as the Universal Mosaic Curriculum and restorative justice programs, is both disappointing and troubling. Black and Brown students, students with disabilities, students from low-income families, students in temporary housing, and students who are identified as English Language Learners are not being invested in at the rate and level of urgency that they deserve. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the inequities that were already present in our school system, therefore our stimulus spending must do more than prioritize recovery, it must prioritize equity as well. We are thankful that the Comptroller’s office is practicing transparency and asking for accountability on this matter. Moving forward, we are hopeful that the NYCDOE will support students and families not only through words but through long-overdue actions."

Upcoming Events

Screen Shot of book_ White Space Black Hood.png
  • The Appleseed Network is hosting a special forum with author and academic Sheryll Cashin on her research around segregation, housing inequality and opportunity hoarding. Sheryll Cashin is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice at Georgetown University and the author of White Space, Black Hood, in which she draws on two decades of research to trace the processes of residential caste in housing, policing, schools, and transportation.  The book delves into how governments designed, built, and maintained racial order in America through geography and calls to end these state-sanctioned processes. Join us for this virtual event on April 27th at 3pm EST by registering here.

  • IntegrateNYC will host its first in-person community gathering in two years, with the on-going support of Appleseed's Lena Dalke. On May 12th, middle school students and adult allies in District 15 public middle schools will gather in Prospect Park to build community and create visions of schools as welcome and safe spaces for all students. This spring school groups have been working on creating action plans for change-making on current issues that they identify as pressing in their school community. Over the winter, students and adult allies explored why metal detectors are discriminatory, and made connections with Restorative Justice, one of the main components of the 5Rs of Real Integration.
Appleseed Network logo.png

New York Appleseed is a part of a nonprofit network of 16 public interest centers in the United States and Mexico with a network office in Washington. Appleseed centers are dedicated to building a society in which opportunities are genuine, access to justice is universal and equal, and government advances the public interest. Click on the links below to explore the Appleseed network:

Alabama Appleseed

Chicago Appleseed

DC Appleseed

Georgia Appleseed

Hawai'i Appleseed

Kansas Appleseed

Louisiana Appleseed

Massachusetts Appleseed

Appleseed México

Missouri Appleseed

Nebraska Appleseed

New Jersey Appleseed

New Mexico Appleseed

South Carolina Appleseed

Texas Appleseed

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 2.48.00 PM.png
Facebook  Twitter