As I walk through the Upper East Side of New York in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, I see kids everywhere. The playground at the back of the public elementary school is filled with screams and laughter. In the north end of Central Park, there are classes having PE or lunch. Some kids are wearing uniforms; others are not. The vast majority of the children I see are white. As I walk westward and up towards 100th, there are less children in the park. On the West Side when I pass the local elementary school, the playground is silent. There are no children to be seen anywhere on the streets. It’s pick up time but there are no parents waiting. I have passed this elementary school every day for three months. It has closed and opened many times over the course of these months. The vast majority of the students in this school are Black or Latino.
The media often reports on the disparity in educational opportunity particularly over this past year. A walk through neighborhoods that are literally separated by a few city blocks puts this disparity in front of your eyes. Unless you are blind, you can’t ignore the inequality. This is an inequality that affects generations.