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Coming to a borough near you: Mayor de Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group hits the road with a series of town halls

Parents attend a public meeting in Brooklyn's District 15.
Parents attend a public meeting in Brooklyn's District 15.
Christina Veiga/Chalkbeat

The mayor’s School Diversity Advisory Group has largely worked behind closed doors to shape New York City’s integration plan — and now it’s the public’s turn to weigh in.

The group will kick off a series of town hall meetings on Thursday in the Bronx, the first in a tour of public workshops that will take place in every borough.

Maya Wiley, who co-chairs the advisory group, said she hopes the meetings will be more than just an opportunity to get feedback. Her goal is also to spark conversations in the community to better the chances of getting buy-in for whatever recommendations the group ultimately makes.

“What we’re really trying to understand is what people in different communities around the city actually think diversity means, and what they think their schools should look like,” Wiley said.

Thursday’s session will include presentations from advocates before breaking into small groups to give people an opportunity to “go deep,” she said.

The advisory group, which includes about 30 members, is tasked with analyzing the city’s school diversity plan that was released last summer, and also coming up with its own recommendations to improve on those efforts. New York City schools are among the most segregated in the country, a problem that a growing number of grassroots advocates have pushed the mayor to address.

But there are already concerns about how inclusive the conversation will really be. David Kirkland, a member of the advisory group, pointed out that the town hall will take place on the same night as parent-teacher conferences, putting families in a difficult position if they want to attend. He also said he would prefer for a community organization to lead the group, “to mobilize the community and to hear authentic perspectives.”

The town hall will take place from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at P.S. 73, which is located at 1020 Anderson Ave. in the Bronx.

To learn the dates and times for the rest of the town hall meetings, click here.

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