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NYC’s Universal Pre-K Is More Racially Segregated Than Kindergarten


September 20, 2016
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Alexandria Neason
The Village Voice

New York City universal preschool classrooms are more racially segregated than kindergarten classrooms, according to a new report out today from the Century Foundation.

While overall enrollment in the universal pre-k program is diverse, in one-sixth of preschool classrooms in the first year, more than 90 percent of all students came from the same racial or ethnic group, compared to one-eighth of all kindergarten classrooms. Just one in every five preschool classrooms were considered “highly diverse,” where the largest racial or ethnic group constitutes no more than 50 percent of the student roster. Decades of research show that racially integrated classrooms increase educational outcomes for all children.

The report used data from the city Department of Education from the 2014-2015 school year, the program’s first, and defined classrooms with 90 percent or more students from the same racial or ethnic group as “highly homogeneous.” Some studies say that schools risk alienating students if the majority group exceeds 70 percent of the student body.