Howie Hawkins wants to merge city and suburban school districts

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - The Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor wants to make major changes to the schools, not just in the City of Syracuse, but elsewhere in Onondaga County.

Howie Hawkins says day school districts are like modern day Jim Crow Laws, in the sense that students are segregated based on class.

The following release was sent from the Howie Hawkins campaign:

Schools with high concentrations of poor students perform poorly on standardized tests. No schools with high concentrations of poor students are high performing schools anywhere in the state or nation. With the highest concentrations of black and Latino poverty, and fifth highest concentration of white poverty, in high-poverty census tracks among U.S. cities, Hawkins said that poor and working-class families in Syracuse are isolated from the resources and opportunities that the professional-managerial middle class takes for granted.

Hawkins noted that while the black/white achievement gap on standardized tests in Syracuse schools has closed, the test scores are abysmally low. Only 13.1 percent of Syracuse students in grades 3 through 8 scored at a proficient level in 2017 on state math and English language tests. Poor white students struggle like the poor black and Latino students on the tests.

"Martin Luther King gave a speech in Syracuse in 1965 warning us that if we didn’t end the de facto segregation in our schools, we would lose generations of children. That is what has happened over the last 50 years. We can’t wait any longer to begin desegregating our schools," said Hawkins.

“Adequate and equitable school funding, the quality of facilities and equipment, teacher expectations, and class size all help and should be done. But nothing comes close to improving educational outcomes for all students that desegregation has proven to achieve,” Hawkins added.

Integrated schools are better for middle class as well as poor and working class students. Hawkins noted that desegregation of schools by race and class has proven to be by far the strongest way to close the race and class achievement gaps as measured by standardized tests. Integration by race and class substantially improves the academic achievement of lower income students and also improves the achievement levels of middle class students to a lesser degree.

All students in integrated schools – poor, working class, and middle class alike – have better outcomes on measures of intellectual self-confidence, leadership skills. critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, team work, and empathy and tolerance across racial and class lines.

“Integrated schools are better for middle class as well as poor and working-class students. The next mayor and city school officials should emphasize these facts in proposing desegregation with school districts adjacent to the city,’ Hawkins said.

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