Have A Good Laugh At The Expense Of New York Progressives

Probably, you got a good laugh when Barack Obama said, back in 2010, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."  Of course you knew that when he said "you," he meant you, and definitely not him.  Or maybe you didn't realize it was a joke until just a couple of months ago in February, when the bidding for his next book went up above $60 million.  Or possibly, you still didn't realize it was a joke until it was revealed that he is going to be paid $400,000 by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald for giving one speech.  Or, maybe it's just that he forgot to put a figure on how much money is "enough."  Maybe it's now up to around $100 million?  Something tells me that it will always be a little more than whatever he has at the moment.

Anyway, if you enjoy the humor of progressives having one rule for you and another for themselves, then you will get an even better laugh from the lead article from the Metropolitan Section of today's New York Times, headline "Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens."   

This is the story of the schools in Manhattan's Community School District 3, the district that covers what we here call the Upper West Side.  District 3 stretches from West 59th Street all the way up to West 122nd Street.  This is the home turf for the smuggest of smug gentry progressivism.  It's where the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan trace their roots.  In the recent presidential election, it gave well upwards of 90% of its votes to the losing candidate.  This neighborhood is ground zero for the belief that enough government spending and regulations and coercion, if only given a chance, can achieve perfect justice and fairness in human affairs.

The territory of Community School District 3 is ethnically diverse, but the races are not distributed uniformly.  The southern part of the district is heavily white -- and very wealthy.  Once you get past about 96th Street, it becomes more ethnically mixed.  Beyond 110th Street (excepting Morningside Heights, home of Columbia University) is Harlem, mostly black and Hispanic, although now rapidly gentrifying.  Census data are not reported for the exact same boundaries as the school district, but demographic data at Wikipedia here have the portion of the school district from 59th Street to 110th Street as over two-thirds (67.4%) white, 7.6% Asian, 15% Hispanic, and only 7.6% African American.

Even though the northern part of this district is gentrifying, it still turns out that the schools in the district are heavily segregated, with those in the northern part heavily black and Hispanic, and the whites concentrated in the schools in the southern part.  As you will not be surprised to learn, these gentry progressive whites, with very few exceptions, will play every trick in the book to keep their kids from having to go to school with the blacks and Hispanics.  First, there is the attrition that comes from the wealthiest whites sending their kids to private schools.  The Times article gives the percentage of white kids in the district schools as "over a third" -- way less than their percentage of the population.  But even that is not the crux of the matter.  The crux, to which most of the article is devoted, is the games the white parents of public school children play to keep their kids out of the heavily black and Hispanic schools at the northern end of the district.

Thus we meet Elana Shneyer and Adam Kaufman, who live on West 109th Street, just "a few hundred feet" from P.S. 165, one of those heavily black and Hispanic places.  That's where their kid will go if they don't pull some other maneuvers.  Next thing you know they are entering their kid into a lottery to get into the "Manhattan School for Children," on West 93rd Street. And of course, that's where he ends up.  Here's how Ms. Shneyer justifies her decision to herself:

“There’s a coherent vision for the school,” Mr. Kaufman said. “You can see that articulated through small and large decisions that are enacted through the school, and that really appealed to me.” 

Or take the case of Scott Seamon:

Scott Seamon, a lawyer who works in finance, lives in the area served by P.S. 145 and has twin boys who will start kindergarten in 2018. Given the school’s test scores, he said, “I feel like it would almost be malpractice to send my kids to school there, while the schools in the 70s and 80s have like a 70 percent passage rate.”

Multiply these anecdotes by a few thousand, and this is how you end up with close to 100% segregated schools.  This in a neighborhood where literally everyone talks, talks, talks endlessly about their "commitment to diversity."

I don't have much comment, other than that it's fun to watch how progressivism actually works on the ground.