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Queens Assemblywoman Introduces Legislation That Would Score Segregation In Schools

Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas (NY State Assembly)

Nov. 1, 2021 By Christian Murray

A Queens state assembly woman has introduced legislation that would require school administrators to report statistics pertaining to the race and socioeconomics of their student body as part of their annual report cards.

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas—who represents Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Woodside—introduced a bill Oct. 20 that would require schools to report the ratio of students per racial group to the overall ratio of the population of a given county.

Each school would receive a score that would indicate whether the student body reflected the diversity of the county/borough where it is located.

The borough of Queens, for instance, is 20.7 percent black; 24.9 percent non-Hispanic white; 26.9 percent Asian and 28.2 percent Hispanic/Latino, according to the 2020 U.S. Census.

González-Rojas said the bill was prompted, in part, by a study released by the American Civil Liberties Unions’ Civil Rights Project that found “New York State retains its place as the most segregated state for black students, and second most segregated for Latino students (after California).”

“The last two years have made addressing the existential threat of racial inequity in our city and state more urgent than ever. This is perhaps most evident in our school system where New York State is now the second most segregated state in the country for Black and Latinx students,” González-Rojas said in a statement.

The goal of the legislation, González-Rojas said, would be to inform New Yorkers of the level of segregation in their children’s schools as it relates to the county the schools are located in.

The bill, A8340, would also require schools to provide the staffing-to-student ratio, the arts programming on offer, among other information. It would also calculate each subgroup’s participation in or exposure to gifted and talented programs and advanced coursework.

“If we are serious about advancing equity in our institutions it is essential that we increase transparency about the level of segregation in our schools as it relates to segregation in the surrounding county,” González-Rojas said. ” All of our students deserve access to the same amount of resources and opportunities to excel. This legislation will help us get one step closer to this goal.”

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Education committee.

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