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Small Steps, But No Major Push, To Integrate New York’s Schools

For all its kaleidoscopic diversity, New York City has one of the most segregated school systems in the country, with divisions created and reinforced by decades of policy decisions. But over the past year, some areas of the system have begun experimenting with ways to desegregate, if not by the color of children’s skin, at least by their families’ wealth.

But no comprehensive plans have emerged from City Hall or the Education Department. The schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has said she wants to avoid mandates in favor of proposals that bubble up from schools and local communities “organically.” That approach, say critics like Councilman Ritchie Torres, a Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx, amounts to tinkering around the edges of a dense and vast problem.