School segregation endures in New York and beyond

About a fifth of public schools across the country have almost no white children, according to Stefan Lallinger, a longtime educator. And we don't need to look far to witness segregation in the classrooms.

New York City is home to one of the most segregated school systems in the country.

"About 70% of our schools here in New York City have almost no white children," Lallinger said. "They're 90 to 100% black and Latino."

Lallinger is the director of Bridge Collaborative, a new initiative launched by the Century Foundation to help bridge the gap and work on integrating schools across the country.

"This is an issue that a lot of people feel like was settled in 1954 and we don't need to think about it anymore," Lallinger said, "and nothing can be further from the truth."

The Bridge Collaborative is looking for 50 partners from across the country, from school districts to charter schools and housing organizations. Applications will be going out soon, Lallinger said. He expects to launch a cohort in the fall.

Integrating schools is a personal fight for Lallinger and his family. His grandfather, Louis Redding, helped argue the Brown v. Board of Education case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional.

Lallinger said what is happening today shows we still have a lot of work to do.

"What if George Floyd and Derek Chauvin had gone to elementary school together?" Lallinger said. "Do we think the events of last week would have unfolded in the manner in which they did?"


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