Children are Our Future: Integrating School District 23

Student | Leslie Velasquez
Faculty | Jennifer Becker, Ron Shiffman
School of Architecture, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment

In 2014, New York City was found to be the most segregated school district in the United States of America. Since then, New York City Department of Education has released a report aimed at diversifying school districts that currently serve a diverse student population, while never fully acknowledging segregated school districts nor school integration.

School District 23 PK-8 Students by Race. In year 2018 -2019, District 23 overwhelmingly services a higher proportion of Black students than the citywide average. Black student population is more than double the borough of Brooklyn and triple the citywide numbers. Source: NYC Dept. of Education District Planning.

Located in Brooklyn, New York, Brownsville-Ocean Hill parents once advocated for school integration in District 23. The goal of this thesis is to explore the ways in which school District 23 and others alike can become integrated school districts

Redlined Brownsville and Ocean Hill 1950s.In 1934, then a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, Brownsville was labeled a “slum”, ripe for clearance and urban renewal by New York City. As Blacks moved into the Brownsville and Ocean Hill neighborhoods, White flight ensued, and the neighborhoods became redlined. Source:
School District 23 Grade 3-8 State Performance, 4-year Graduation Rate. On statewide English and Math exams, District 23 grade 3 through 8 fall far below Brooklyn and citywide averages. Half of students graduate high school within 4 years, also far below citywide averages. Source: NYC Dept. of Education District Planning.
Median Household Income of Brownsville-Ocean Hill by Census Tracts. Median household income in the area is $27,282, far below the citywide MHI of $60,762. Almost a quarter of the population has a household income below $10,000. Source: United States Census Bureau.
School Age Children Residing in District 23 vs. Total Number of Children Attending District 23 Schools. In 2018, A Center for New York City Affairs report found nearly a third of District 23 children attend charter schools. Source: NYC Planning Population FactFinder.