Friday, August 14, 2020
78.3 F
Larchmont
Home Towns Larchmont *Read Your 100+ Comments*---Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

*Read Your 100+ Comments*—Was Central School Cleared of Race-Based Placement?

Mamaroneck–

Update: theLoop received this letter from the parent in this case:

To the Editor:

 Recently, the U.S. Department of Education the Office of Civil Rights completed an investigation of the Central Elementary School in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District and found segregation occurred involving innocent kindergarten children including my son.. The Mamaroneck UFSD is the school district in which Tim Geithner’s (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury) son just graduated from.  The school district hid the federal investigation and the results from the community and local politicians until today.  The principal and superintendent continue in their respective roles.  I have asked the Department of Education/OCR to continue the investigation of the other grades as well as the problem of segregation is not limited to the kindergarten grade.  Please find (HERE a copy of the letter to download)  that I wrote that initiated the investigation and the report from the Office of Civil Rights detailing their findings.

previous story:

The parent of a Kindergartener at Central Elementary School in Larchmont/Mamaroneck filed a complaint with the Dept. of Education claiming racial desegregation. The result? Depends who you ask.

See the report on LoHud.  Larchmont’s Lou Young filed this report for WCBS.

Then, the letter that came today from Mamaroneck School District, reporting the results of a U.S. Dept.of Education civil rights probe, that caught even many parents at Central Elementary School, where these events took place, by surprise:

Dear Parents and Community Members,

In the fall of 2011, two Kindergarten families from Central School raised concerns about the racial/ethnic make-up of a particular Kindergarten class. While the District’s class placement guidelines require classes to be balanced by factors unrelated to race or ethnicity, these parents questioned whether the school’s administration had used race/ethnicity as part of the placement process and made a complaint to the Board of Education that the school’s administration had discriminated against a particular group of students.

In response to this serious complaint, the Board of Education asked the administration to conduct a review of Central’s class placement procedures and report the findings. In early November, the administration confirmed that Kindergarten students at Central were assigned to classrooms following district guidelines, which balance classes by gender, birthdate, daycare/nursery school attended, and special needs unrelated to race or ethnicity. On November 10, 2011, Central Principal Carol Priore and Superintendent Robert Shaps met with Kindergarten parents to respond to the initial complaint in an open forum and publicly reassure parents of the effort, care, and objective guidelines used to organize elementary classrooms in all our elementary schools.

In December of 2011, a parent formally filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s New York City Office of Civil Rights (OCR) about this issue. The District cooperated in the investigation –providing extensive documentation — and organized a series of interviews between OCR officials, Kindergarten teachers, Principal Priore, and district administration to describe our placement process in detail. In summarizing their findings, OCR found that our class placement guidelines are in fact race-neutral.

Typically, OCR also seeks to ensure that districts implement procedures in a consistent manner in compliance with federal law, and, in this case, OCR raised concerns about the consistent application of our placement procedures. Although we believe that the District application of its procedures was entirely proper, the District voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement with OCR to address OCR’s concerns that we “ensure that class assignment is based upon the consistent application of uniform criteria that does not have the effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race or national origin.” We continue to believe that our class placement procedures promote rich learning environments for all our students.

Moving forward, we will continue to maintain our existing policy of making class placement decisions without regard to race or ethnicity, assign students based upon the consistent application of our placement procedures, and ensure that our written procedures are clear to parents, teachers, and students. As a school district, we value the rich diversity of our community, families, and staff and believe it is what makes our school district special.

Sincerely,

Dr. Robert I. Shaps
Superintendent of Schools

Nancy Pierson
President, Board of Education

 

photo: Central School by Jacqueline Silberbush

151 COMMENTS

sponsored by
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

151 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mom2
Mom2
7 years ago

My son’s experience at Cental also reflected poor placement policies and execution.
He was one of 2 non Jewish boys in his kindergarten class of 18, 9 of which were boys. 6 of the boys had attended the same Jewish pre school. Their parents asked that they be placed together. The school honored their request, with no regard for the other children who were not part of the “Jewish clique”. One of the mothers, who felt sorry for my son, told me that they had wanted to keep the tribe together.
I understand that these parents were aggressive with the school administration. However, because the school did not adhere to the stated placement procedure, my son had a difficult social experience in kindergarten.

Phyllis Raja
Phyllis Raja
7 years ago

In light of the terrible accusations being aimed at our schools and our community, I wanted to show you an article posted yesterday on the Autism Speaks website about how terrifically supportive our community actually is.

http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/09/12/league-everyone

Kinnan O'Connell
Kinnan O'Connell
7 years ago

My son was a student at Central during the early 1990’s and I had the same experience when he was in 4th grade. There were 3 or 4 classes and his class had ALL of the apartment kids (read: poor) and the only new teacher (read: inexperienced). When I went to complain about the economic segregation the principal would not even see me! A subsequent meeting with the superintendent yielded nothing but spin, iced with an attitude of “what are you going to do about it?”. Kudos to the mom who took the next step in a search for justice! Cleary, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights found fire behind the smoke.

mom
mom
7 years ago

To view the contents on http://www.lohud.com, go to:
http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201209130230/NEWS02/309130024

Message:
It is heart wrenching when you view the photo. The photo on the adjoining page is nearly all white. The difference between night and day. NBC is running with the story and looks like the story will be on the Today show.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

In my opinion the situation speaks for itself .and I am offened by Shaps letter and so are other taxpayers . Norman Siegel civil rights attorney had same reaction I did .

Janet Perritano
Janet Perritano
7 years ago

xanthe, I did watch channel 2 news….I was at the same meetings that the parent on camera was last year – she should have taken better notes. She raised the question about whether addresses were part of the placement equation and offended many people in the room in the process when she mentioned where she lives as an example – since many of us also live there. Totally out of line. The admin clearly stated that they do NOT consider addresses when placing kids and like many of the rest of us, wasn’t even sure what that had to do with anything. Yet this same parent says in the interview with channel 2 that we were told it’s a criteria. Absolutely untrue. She needs to move on….or preferably, out.

Truthbetold
Truthbetold
7 years ago

My understanding from having lived through this at Central last year is that the school has 5 different criteria they look at when placing kindergarten students to make sure that all the classes are “balanced”. None of the criteria are about address or race, but about making sure that the classes are mixed by gender, special needs, age, kids learning English and I can’t even remember the other one now – maybe making sure they are with a friend or two from nursery school if they attended. If the administration looked at skin color as a criteria for placement, they’d be called racists. So, they don’t consider it and now they were investigated because of THAT practice? This parent has the school investigated because they didn’t look at skin color when placing kids and her kid wound up with a more racially diverse class than some of the others. Call me confused – if it WAS a criteria for placement they’d be considered racist and now they’re racist because they don’t look at it? This parent is saying that she’s offended because her child wasn’t with more white kids…. Who’s the racist here?

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

Read the paper and the watch chanel 2 and chanel 10 news. The District was not completely off the hook. They found inconsistencies in the placement procedure and the District agreed to federal monitoring to insure compliance . Dr Shaps is not giving a totally accurate picture . My two children also went to central and I liked the school

Janet Perritano
Janet Perritano
7 years ago

No spinning involved – sounds pretty clear to me. These parents have an agenda and no amount of investigating seems to appease them regardless of the findings (and the OCR report claims that the school was not found to be race-biased). Seems like Central is a bit too diverse for this parent – thus looking to move to Chatsworth Avenue which, in comparison, is pretty homogeneous as far as race/ethnicity. Good riddance. Central has always been proud of it’s diversity and considers it one of its strengths as a school community. As a member of this school’s community, I’d honestly be just fine seeing parents such as this leave – they obviously have their own issues with diversity and need to do some personal soul searching rather than accusing the school of exactly what they (the parents) are guilty of – focusing on skin color.

xanthe
xanthe
7 years ago

Apparently the school district is spinning the facts on the outcome of this . Their version differs with the version in Lo Hud which states that there were inconsistencies in the placement policy. Two completely different versions of the same outcome

1 2 3 15
151
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x