School Colors Ep. 6: Mo’ Charters Mo’ Problems

If you ask most people in Bed-Stuy’s District 16 why they think enrollment is falling, chances are they’ll point to charter schools: privately managed public schools, which have been on the rise in New York City for more than a decade. Charter schools were originally dreamed up to be laboratories for innovation in public education. […]

School Colors Ep. 5: The Disappearing District

Since 2002, the number of students in Bed-Stuy’s District 16 has dropped by more than half. There’s no single reason why this is happening, but the year 2002 is a clue: that’s when Michael Bloomberg became the Mayor, abolished local school boards, and took over the New York City school system. In this episode, we’ll […]

School Colors Ep. 4: “Agitate! Educate! Organize!”

In the wake of the 1968 teachers’ strikes, Black people in Central Brooklyn continued to fight for self-determination in education — both inside and outside of the public school system. Some veterans of the community control movement started an independent school called Uhuru Sasa Shule, or “Freedom Now School,” part of a pan-African cultural center […]

School Colors Ep. 3: Third Strike

In the fall of 1968, New York City teachers went on strike three times, in reaction to an experiment in community control of schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn. The third strike was the longest, and the ugliest. The movement for community control tapped into a powerful desire among Black and brown people across New York […]

School Colors Ep. 2: Power to the People

In the late 1960s, the Central Brooklyn neighborhood of Ocean Hill-Brownsville was at the center of a bold experiment in community control of public schools. But as Black and Puerto Rican parents in Ocean Hill-Brownsville tried to exercise power over their schools, they collided headfirst with the teachers’ union — leading to the longest teachers’ […]