Its not all white! PS 307 leader fears new Dumbo residents steering clear of minority-majority school

Brooklyn Paper
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White parents living in Dumbo may be choosing to send their kindergartners to schools other than the newly zoned and mostly minority PS 307 in Vinegar Hill despite a controversial rezoning that many heralded as a crucial step towards integration, and a school leader is questioning whether the newcomers are avoiding it because of its racial makeup.

“My fear is that despite the rezoning, white parents aren’t going to come to this school because of its demographi­cs,” said Faraji Hannah-Jones, a former Parent-Teacher Association co-president whose daughter attends the school.

The Department of Education expanded PS 307’s zone — which previously only included the Farragut Houses — to also include kids from Dumbo in order to ease overcrowding at mostly white PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights after dozens of youngsters were put on the wait list for that school last year.

Neighborhood demographics for PS 8 from have not been released by the city despite repeated requests by this paper, and it is unclear how many kindergartners children living in Dumbo went to that school last year.

Education officials predicted that the amount of minorities attending school at PS 307 would drop from 90 percent to around 55 to 60 percent over several years, without specifying how many years it would take.

Some touted the integration of the school as a milestone for school desegregation, with local pols and some members of the district Community Education Council arguing the rezoning would finally bring white and black children together in a city where many schools are heavily segregated.

And Councilman Steve Levin (D–Boerum Hill) dramatically voiced his support, saying it would “allow all of our children the opportunity to learn and grow together.”

But in its first year, the school’s racial makeup has remained roughly the same, with fewer than 10 white kids enrolling in kindergarten — the same figure as last fall, according to education department data, which does not give the exact amount, and could be as few as one or zero.

One goal of the plan has been met, as there was no wait list at PS 8 this year.

Hannah-Jones said he didn’t expect to see much difference in the skin color of children walking the school’s hallways right away and thinks it will be become more visible once Dumbo becomes more built up and more yuppy families move into the area.

“There’s not really been much of any change since the rezoning vote and we’re probably not going to see any changes for the next couple years,” he said.

An education department spokesman echoed this observation and said that the impact won’t be seen for “several years.”

Figures show more kids from inside the zone are now attending PS 307, a magnet school that receives federal money for math and science programs that has traditionally catered to youngsters from across the city. Last year just 18 of its 69 kindergartners were from inside the zone. However, 31 of this year’s incoming kindergarten class is from inside the zone, according education department data.

The statistics the city releases do not say where inside the zone the kids live, but the uptick could have been a result of it expanding to include the rest of the Farragut Houses. Previously, three of the buildings in the development were zoned for PS 8.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Paul says:
No one wants to send their kids to a crappy school unless they have dumb kids. Dumb people send their behavioral problem kids there, no wealthy, clever, or ambitious parents will. It's not about race, it's about sending your children to a school where the classmates aren't problematic.
Dec. 16, 2016, 2:24 pm
Tess from Dumbo says:
Elections have consequences. This is social engineering that goes along with a progressive agenda.
Dec. 16, 2016, 2:51 pm
NativeNYer from BklynHghts says:
Paul - where is the evidence to back up such a racist statement? PS307 happens to be a wonderful school. ANY child would be lucky to attend there.
Dec. 16, 2016, 2:51 pm
Gloria from Dumbo says:
I am a recently retired teacher from PS 307 andit just so happens I want to PS 307 today to hear the annual holiday concert . It's true, the school is about the same as it has been in terms of the make-up of the kids. The concert, however, which included the chorus and school band, was terrific. Afterwards I visited some of my former colleagues and saw the incredible new Sensory Gym in the Occupational Therapy Room, peered into the Tortoise House in the Science Lab, watched the award winning cheerleaders (The Diamonds) practicing, and perused the hallway artwork and literacy samples. So, no, the newly zoned families still have not chosen to send their children to PS 307 which is their prerogative. But they have so much to gain if, and when, they decide to attend their neighborhood school.
Dec. 16, 2016, 7:07 pm
PS 307 Parent from CLINTON HILL says:
I am sorry to hear such a gross mis-representation of this school by fellow Brooklyn Paper reader Paul...My child is currently in an ICT classroom (meaning a class where children with and without learning challenges are taught together) in the younger of the classes at PS307 and we could not be happier that he is in a classroom where not only does he have 1:5 teacher-to-student ratio (this is UNHEARD of!), but he is growing up in an academic community tolerant of difference, where his classmates may not always be at exactly the same level he is or may come from different backgrounds than he does and this is accepted and is normalized. We chose PS307 initially because it came highly recommended to us by local parents in DUMBO. It has not disappointed and I continue to be impressed by what it has to offer...from the moment we walked in the door to register our child, we have been astounded by the programming, the offerings from academics to art, the dedicated and top-quality faculty and staff, the progressive attitude and the welcome from each and every person with whom we cross paths in the halls every day. Between our children we have experienced first-hand several local public, private and charter schools, and of all the schools in Brooklyn which we toured, we put PS 307 at the top of our list this time around. We consider ourselves lucky to have access to the school despite being out of zone because local families are not taking advantage of the gem they have in their midst. Between us, my husband and I have several higher education degrees and we come from a family of educators; if that has any meaning to any fellow readers, may this be a beacon and message to all those considering PS 307--you would do well to choose and support this school which is doing a fantastic job for all of its students, whatever their background/address/skin color/home language/learning ability etc. It is an oasis and thrives despite being veritably marginalized for many many years. I further echo Gloria above in that the Holiday performance today was among the most impressive productions I have seen in all the years of attending such functions. Bravo PS 307! Keep up the good work and may you continue to grow and teach more students to become strong, intelligent New York-ers who combat fear and ignorance with education.
Dec. 16, 2016, 8:02 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
At least it's a step up from what the "Gifted Program" was in the 80's and 90's. Go look at class photos from schools like PS 29 and PS 8 and tell me that's not straight up segregation. Hell, growing up, teachers and parents used to threaten us with the prospect of ending up at 293 or 146 if we didn't do well in class.
Dec. 17, 2016, 9:20 am
Tracy from Brooklyn says:
The Black community needs to take a long hard look at themselves and ask why they are excluding white people from what you describe as a clearly desirable school. Is it direct racism from them or micro aggressions?
Dec. 17, 2016, 1:32 pm
Barry from Flatbush says:
It's good for the public school students that the rich, white folks don't send their lazy, entitled, druggy kids to the school. Better for those kids to go to those academically weak private schools where nobody gets grades but everybody gets a trophy, just for being rich and white. As long as they are respectful to their public school graduate employers in the future, I'm okay with it.
Dec. 17, 2016, 5:12 pm
person from brooklyn says:
White person here! I am very much interested in a middle school for my son in Carroll Gardens, but it's only 11% white. Our guidance counselor asked me FIVE times if I was sure. She then said, jokingly, that she'd make the spokesperson because she can't get any parents interested that school. My son's current school is CHOCK full of liberal activists and we are generally in agreement, but true colors always appear when it comes time to send your kid to a school with fewer white faces than they'd prefer.
An academic program that does not focus on testing but on interdisciplinary study and biweekly field trips to study outdoors sounds like it would be right up the Park Slope parents' alley, doesn't it? Not with all those brown faces around, though, apparently!
I'm sure. I think the program would suit my son the best. Fingers crossed!

These parents paid big bux to be zoned to certain schools, and no matter how hard they shout about integration and equality, it will never be THEIR kid that's the guinea pig. Amiright?
Dec. 19, 2016, 7:28 pm
Adamben from Bedstuy says:
this is just a way for the city to pretend that schools are improving without improving them. While yes, a lot of liberal white parents are indeed scared to send their children to schools with minority majorities, those schools are bad because they are underfunded and there are also not enough parents involved for whatever reasons. So, there are two wrongs that need to be worked on, not just shuffling kids around based on their race.
Dec. 20, 2016, 5:58 pm

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