In 1990, I started kindergarten at PS 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the borough's best elementary school, because my family lied.My parents told the school that I lived in a family friend's house within the zone that guaranteed enrollment in this school.
Bad as this appears from the outside, on the inside it's even worse. And policies push schools to make it more separate.
I've spent 22 of my 30 years in the New York City public school system.
The school did not have the budget for these basic necessities.
To make up for these deficits, I wrote grants through Donors Choose, a nonprofit that allows teachers to try to fix problems themselves.
Schools with poor families and low test scores scheduled me to come in to give a demonstration lesson.
One interviewer asked me, "What are you going to do when someone calls you a dumb white bitch?
" I began to see the glaring paradox firsthand: Though I was the least qualified, I was only viable at the schools with the most needy students.
I eventually got hired at M 301, a high-poverty, segregated middle school on the Lower East Side.
A sign indicated that balloon height specified the grade level of jobs available and balloon color, the subject area.
I had crossed my first threshold into the bureaucracy of the New York City Department of Education. High-performing schools took one look at my résumé and wished me well.