New York City is a highly diverse city, ethnically, socioeconomically and racially. Its public schools are no exception. However, there are different concentrations of races and ethnicities in the school. This is considered to show negative social disparities. Opponents of the current conditions say that racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity strengthens schools and communities.

The New York City Education Department has specifically set its sights on lower Manhattan’s public schools, taking note of how unequal the distributions of people are in those districts. A new policy will be put into place in order to racially and socioeconomically diversify the schools in Community School District 1.

The schools are generally segregated based upon factors such as race and socioeconomic status. For example, in the 2016-2017 school year, the the student body of East Village Community School on East 12th Street was 58% White. Meanwhile the student body at Public School 15 the Robert Clemente School consisted of 4 White children out of 178 children.

People who live in the school district can choose where they want their children to go to school. Parents must send in applications for their chosen schools. In 2016, 40% of parents who sent in kindergarten and prekindergarten applications only listed one choice on their applications. When schools fill up, there are usually lotteries for seats.

According to the New York State Education Department’s new policy, people who meet certain criteria will be given first priority for 67% of the seats in kindergarten and prekindergarten. Children must meet at least one or more of these criteria. Here are the three categories that children must fall into in order to be streamlined into priority seating:

• They must live in temporary housing.
• They qualify for reduced price or free lunch.
• They are learning English.

The other 33% of kindergarten and prekindergarten placings will be given to children who do not fall under any of those categories.