School Colors Eps 8: On The Move

Despite New York City’s progressive self-image, our dirty secret is that we have one of the most deeply segregated school systems in the country. But with gentrification forcing the issue, school integration is back on the table for the first time in decades. How do we not totally screw it up? And what does this […]

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. 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’ […]

School Colors Ep. 1: Old School

Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is one of the most iconic historically Black neighborhoods in the United States. But Bed-Stuy is changing. Fifty years ago, schools in Bed-Stuy’s District 16 were so overcrowded that students went to school in shifts. Today, they’re half-empty. Why? In trying to answer that question, we discovered that the biggest, oldest questions we […]