2015-09-09 / Features

Back To School!


Classes begin today, September 9, for 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 city public schools, the largest school district in the United States.

About 87,000 schoolchildren live in homeless shelters or temporary housing in every school district across the five boroughs and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is encouraging the donations of backpacks and other school supplies to homeless children as part of “Project: Back to School,” an annual initiative of the nonprofit Coalition for the Homeless.

“Every child deserves a strong start to the school year with proper supplies just like their fellow peers,” said Katz in an August 31 press statement. “We urge Queens residents to donate generously toward this drive.”

“We are pleased to have Borough President Katz and the caring people of Queens involved in this year’s Project: Back to School,” said Dave Geffen, Executive Director of the Coalition for the Homeless in the Aug. 31 statement.

Donations of backpacks and other supplies, including No. 2 pencils, composition books, pocket folders, calculators, one-inch binders and colored pencils can be dropped off in the lobby at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until September 18.

Donations made at Borough Hall are anonymous and are not tax deductable. All donated items will be distributed to schoolchildren living in homeless shelters.

The citywide Panel for Educational Policy held its last meeting before the start of the new school year on August 26 in Manhattan.

The Panel approved changes regarding admissions, readmissions, and transfers for students without dissent except for a single footnote objected to by several speakers.

The approval, superseding a previous Chancellor’s Regulation A-101 dated October 2013, included a footnote saying, “Race may be considered as a factor in school enrollment only where required by court order.”

As noted in a March 26 2014 report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, New York State has the most segregated school system in the U.S. largely because of New York City.

Only 25 percent of black and Latino students attended city schools with greater than 10 per cent white enrollment in 2009-2010 while 60 percent of white and Asian students attended schools considered multiracial in 2010-11.

White students make up 10 percent or less of students in 19 of the 32 community school districts and 14 percent of the overall school population. Black (30 percent) and Latino (40 percent) students comprise a total of 70 percent while Asian students make up 15 percent of the city’s student body.

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