If you’re reading this thinking it is one of those clickbait-y headlines for a perfectly reasonable policy, you’re probably going to be disappointed because a New York City private school for the children of wealthy parents has announced that it will begin separating its students based on their race. And, according to numerous reports, for the Little Red Schoolhouse, “will begin” is a euphemism that describes something they have already been doing for years.
The Little Red Schoolhouse in Manhattan’s West Village charges $45,485 per year and teaches the children of David Schwimmer, Christy Turlington Burns, and Sofia Coppola. Parents recently learned that the school officially implemented an ethnicity-based segregation policy last year, according to the New York Post.
During the 2017-2018 school year, 7th and 8th-grade students were placed in homerooms determined by their race, where they spent 30 percent of their classroom time. The plan worked out so well that the officials informed parents of plans to expand the new Jim Crow education initiative to the 6th grade in the fall.
“Research points to the academic, social, and emotional benefits to being in a classroom with others who share racial, ethnic, linguistic, and/or cultural backgrounds” explains the student handbook for the 97-year-old institution.
Although the school claims the practice was limited to 2 grades, one parent said she realized that all but one of the students on her child’s grade level were assigned to the same class throughout their elementary years. Another parent said his child noticed the school had been quietly segregating students by color as far back as kindergarten.
“It was my daughter who immediately noticed that all the kids of color were in one class. If you’re going to have that policy, you need to be upfront,” he said. “We realized she was placed with all the minority students, but none of her friends. It was peculiar that they didn’t spread everyone out.”
On June 12, school director Phillip Kassen sent a message to parents explaining the policy, leading to a large outcry. Eight days later he emailed the parents again and said he would alter the educational equivalent to redlining, but wrote that the school would continue to use race as a “critical, but not primary, determinant.”
However, experts state that many schools in New York and throughout the country have implemented this kind of policy.
“The problem is, there still isn’t enough diversity in New York City independent schools,” explained one educational consultant who focuses on minority students. “This is just a Band-Aid. You need to advocate for more financial aid and diversity.”
When they heard about this, White House officials did not announce that, when reviewing the country’s drug laws, immigration policy and judicial nominees, the Trump administration already used race as a “critical, but not primary determinant.”