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community/schools/school reports
January 28, 2001

Diversity and its Impact on Education in New York City Public Schools

by Amanda Lashea Toliver


In recent times, America has claimed that one of the factors that has made it a great nation is its diverse population. While diversity has made America a great industrial nation, diversity has not translated into opportunities for those individuals who migrate or who reside here. America still remains a separate and unequal society.

The New York City Education System is a prime example of the lack of diversity, particularly at the high school level. The quality of education received is based on the racial makeup of the schools. In areas with a high concentration of minorities, the quality of education and educational opportunity are limited. This is very unfortunate, many schools where minorities are located, have the potential to be an extremely successful popular educational system, but due to outside pressures, resources are limited.

This observation is based on my experiences at Life Sciences Secondary School and my brand new experiences at the Beacon School. Life Sciences Secondary population is predominately minorities, which include both African -Americans and Hispanics. The Beacon School on the other hand is predominately white. When looking around at my peers, I see that we have nothing in common, said Christine Orellano (Hispanic). The racial build-up of New York City Public Schools does affect the quality of the school. For example, Life Sciences Secondary School suffers from a lack of qualified teachers, inexperience administrators, limited resources, books, labs, and a lack of parental involvement. The Beacon School in contrast has a highly qualified teaching staff, dedicated administrators, a well- developed curriculum and abundance of resources to assist the students. These resources include internship programs which offer the students choices ranging from Regents and SAT prep courses to tutoring programs and selection in elective courses.

Life Sciences Secondary is located on the upper east side of Manhattan. It's location does not have a bearing on the population of the school. Life Sciences Secondary School has been in existence for three years, now and has become much more stable and successful than it was when I attended. The first two years, I attended Life Sciences Secondary School, it was a very poor academic program.

Many subjects and classes had unorganized curriculums and did not result in students performing their best. Life Sciences Secondary School had a mandatory Chemistry class which ended with a Regents exam. This class was very improperly put together. For the first six months of the semester there were no chemistry teachers present in the class. This meant students were unsupervised and left to socialize for the entire period. This school then hired five different chemistry teachers which resulted in negative outcomes. The last and final chemistry teacher brought in to teach the class had taught biology prior to teaching chemistry. This school is in total chaos and is a prime example of what takes place in schools occupied by mostly minorities.

The Beacon School is a school located in the upper west side of Manhattan. This school has a excellent academic record, and an organized curriculum established since its start in 1993. The school has such programs as a well equipped Theater Arts Program, dance clubs, sport teams, art studios, photography, and diverse internships. These programs exist due to the parental involvement and dedicated staff members. It is shameful to say that schools that have a higher number of whites are more academically stable.

There is a direct relationship between quality of education and the racial makeup of the student population. According to the United States Department of Education, this trend does not only affect the New York City school systems but schools across the country. Fortunately for me, my high school is well-rounded and diverse. Those who decide to attend Beacon will receive a challenging and stimulating education.

Life Sciences Secondary School is Located on 320 East 96 street
Telephone (212) 427-9374

WeB Site www.mhss.org



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