De Blasio Approves Landmark, Parent-Led Desegregation Plan For Brooklyn Middle Schools

De Blasio Approves Landmark, Parent-Led Desegregation Plan for Brooklyn Middle Schools

In a potentially historic move that aims to reverse the segregation in schools, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has given his endorsement to a plan to integrate schools in some of Brooklyn’s wealthier neighborhoods.

Previously, students applying to middle schools in District 15 were chosen based on their grades, test scores, and auditions. However, this selection process led to significant racial and income disparities. Many white students tended to enroll in the few top-performing district schools that acted as feeder schools for the city’s elite specialized high schools.

Under the new plan, admissions for the upcoming year will be determined through a lottery system, ensuring that slightly over half of the seats in each school are reserved for low-income students, homeless students, or English Language Learners. This proportion reflects the demographics of the district.

Mayor de Blasio officially approved the District 15 diversity plan at M.S. 51, a high-performing school that his children attended. The approval, which was expected, was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Richard Carranza, the Schools Chancellor, who has been a strong advocate for school desegregation efforts, also attended the event. He emphasized that the plan is not just about changing admissions procedures, but also about improving curriculum, promoting inclusive practices, and prioritizing social-emotional learning.

District 15 includes affluent neighborhoods like Cobble Hill and Park Slope, as well as public housing in Red Hook and parts of Sunset Park that are home to Asian immigrant communities. Despite the diverse mix, the student bodies in nearby schools have not reflected this diversity. According to the Department of Education, District 15 students consist of 30 percent white students, 36 percent Hispanic students, 14 percent black students, and 16 percent Asian students.

Initially, parent leaders in the district independently developed the plan before the city administration joined the effort. As a result of their work, the city has committed $500,000 to support the new admissions procedures and has pledged to expand ethnic studies and restorative discipline practices.

Mayor de Blasio has expressed his support for similar plans in other districts and has announced $2 million in grants for districts that adopt integrated admission policies. The District 15 plan follows the recent approval of a new admissions initiative in Manhattan’s District 3, which reserves 25 percent of middle school seats for low-scoring students. The implementation of this plan comes after contentious battles over school rezoning in the district and significant racial and economic divisions in the city’s public schools.

Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza also released a proposal to replace the specialized school admissions test in an effort to increase enrollment of black and Hispanic students, who are currently underrepresented in these prestigious schools. However, this proposal has faced opposition from groups representing Asian-American students, who typically perform well on the test and make up a significant portion of students in math and science-focused schools.


  • owengriffiths

    Owen Griffiths is 35 years old and a blogger and teacher. He has written about education for over 10 years and has a passion for helping others learn.