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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

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Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

“…four kindergarten teachers.. those women…”

They were 100% female???

Do we need to take a close look at sexism in the school district as well as racism? Is any group or gender over or under represented in the teaching staff? How should we address this… fire teachers until we achieve gender balance?

Ye Gods. Remember what I said about giving little respect to anonymous contributions? ‘Anonymous’ is proving my point for me…

JEH
JEH
7 years ago

I worked for federal agency I won’t name for 22 years. What usually happens in cases like this someone cracks and then the finger pointing starts. If the OCR were to start another investigation its all over for people at the top. If the DOJ comes in here the pressure will be intense like a vise. Expect to see teachers and staff pointing fingers. I just wouldn’t want to be one of those teachers. My advice never cover for your superiors. They could never be fired for telling the truth whereas they risk being fired if they are covering for the principal. I remember a case I was involved in, I won’t say where, but they cleaned house. I’m sure people are not sleeping nights over this.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Don’t see how 4 teachers, school psychologist, assistant principal, and principal all ignored race-neutral guidelines and created segregation in kindergarten. Amazing when you consider all that brain power sitting at a table and they couldn’t do their job. They couldn’t get it right. Someone is covering for someone!

DDT
DDT
7 years ago

To the uninformed and ignorant person who posted that the four kindergarten teachers lied to the commission – shame on you. Those women are all well respected educators, with high integrity. You obviously are not. These teachers are loving, caring, intelligent and not racist, just as we want are children to be. Thankfully they taught our children wonderfully last year, despite the turmoil around them. They should not be thrown under the bus with the administration nor district.

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

I’m afraid I’m from the old-school internet where anyone unwilling to put their name behind their opinion was generally treated with considerably less respect.

There were exceptions of course – in one area I frequented back in the ’90s, ‘Gharlane of Eddore’ was a frequent contributor of the highest quality and reputation, and he remained entirely anonymous until after he had passed away. But he was the exception rather than the rule; the netiquette I was inculcated with held anonymity to be childish, unless the poster was a dissenter under threat of persecution, for instance. But I digress considerably!

phyllis
phyllis
7 years ago

IMHO…its nice to have the anonymous option. you will get more people willing to respond. perhaps a reminder though, because it IS so easy to forget putting that info in when you are just focusing on replying.

editor
editor
7 years ago

Do u think we should require a log in? Would love some opinions.
Editor

phyllis
phyllis
7 years ago

Mike, some great points you’ve made! If someone were to ask me the “what are you” question, my response would be “AMERICAN”. So would my kids. Going beyond, getting racial and asking our race…well that is entirely up for debate. My kids LOOK caucasian. But are half south asian. Does this mean that THEY will get to choose for their own benefit whether they belong to the “white majority” or to the “south asian minority”? America is a melting pot. we are all AMERICANS first and foremost. We have come such a long way since the birth of our country and race should not matter, should not be a defining criteria in ANY setting. That is how I have seen this community and this school district operate. This school district is top rated and there is reason for this.

and just a note abt anon posts…when you rip off a comment without pausing to fill in the top of the form, it doesnt remind you to log in, add your name etc. It just posts. I did this once, ripped off a reply OOPS forgot my name at the top and it just posted as anonymous.

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

Oh I missed a question from DM, asking if any posters were non-white?

My skin is white, but I’m an immigrant from a very different culture – in fact, from friends I’ve made and conversations I’ve had, in some respects my culture and ‘worldview’ has more in common with Native American and Pacific Island cultures.

I may look like you but I am not you – and neither are my kids.

Mike Ross
Mike Ross
7 years ago

Oh and there are too many people here posting under the ‘anonymous’ handle; it gets quite confusing. Have the courage of your convictions and use your own name as I do!

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