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New York

King's Final Experiment: Using Federal Grant Money to Integrate Schools

Patrick Wall of Chalkbeat New York writes about what will be John King's final experiment as as New York's education chief. The $25 million grant program and first of its kind is designed to revamp struggling schools through integration. The hope is that the influx of dollars to the 8 bottom ranked schools will convince more affluent families to send their children there.
“When you have a mix of students and everyone’s learning from each other, the school can do better,” said P.S. 15 Principal Irene Sanchez. “When you have kids with trauma and everyone’s in that same state, it’s hard.” For the first time, King’s $25 million grant program would allow the city to try to improve P.S. 15 and seven other bottom-ranked schools by convincing more affluent families to send their children there. Experts say they know of no other state program using school-improvement money from the federal government to encourage integration. For that reason, and because President Obama chose King last week to head up the federal education department, experts say the program could be replicated across the country if it is successful. “My hope is that this approach will become a national model,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and a longtime proponent of socioeconomic school integration. “It’s very exciting.”

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