PRRAC Update  

May 18, 2012   




Welcome to the PRRAC Update!  Every other Thursday, PRRAC sends out a brief digest of news, recent publications, and other points of interest related to our work in housing, education, and health. We welcome feedback and encourage you to forward to others. To join the PRRAC email list, click here. 



Century Foundation/PRRAC convening on diverse charter schools:  Continuing one of the themes from yesterday's Conference on School Diversity, PRRAC is co-sponsoring a lunch forum later this month titled "Diverse Charter Schools: Can Racial and Socioeconomic Integration Promote Better Outcomes for Students?"  A panel of civil rights and charter school representatives will explore the challenges and benefits of expanding racial and socioeconomic diversity in charter schools, a sector that has developed a reputation for segregation.  Wednesday, May 30, Noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Century Foundation/Center for American Progress, 1333 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 10th Floor.  For more information and to register, click here.


In the new issue of Poverty & Race:   A fascinating lead article by Deepak Bhargava, "Social Justice Movements in a Liminal Age," plus a new theory of educational equity litigation from Professor Derek Black, and new research on low income family outcomes in Mount Laurel, NJ from Professor Doug Massey.  Read the full issue here.    



Other news and resources (all from New York!)


Stop and frisk: Last week, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued a report documenting grossly disproportionate rates of "stop and frisk" activity by NYC police directed at Black and Latino city residents, especially young men of color.  The report found, for example, that in the 10 precincts with Black and Latino populations of 14 percent or less, Black and Latino city residents accounted for more than 70 percent of the stops.  This week U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, in granting class action status to victims of the policy, found that there was "overwhelming evidence" that a centralized stop-and-frisk program has led to thousands of unlawful stops.  See the story here


School segregation in New York City:  The New York Times has finally decided to cover the most obvious story in New York City education - and their most recent article in the series paints a stark picture of how racially segregated the system has become.  See 'Why Don't We Have Any White Kids?' by N.R. Kleinfield.  The story also features efforts by some of our colleagues to break down these unnecessary patterns of separation that have been handed down to NYC children over four decades.   


AFFH in Westchester:  Also in the Times this week, an editorial marking the federal district's court's affirmation that Westchester County's rejection of a housing voucher discrimination ordinance constituted a material breach of the landmark housing desegregation settlement.  This editorial was particularly notable because, unlike much of the coverage of the Westchester case, it recognizes the overarching goals of the settlement:  "Ultimately, this case is not just about hiding 750 units among the Tudors and glades of a county of nearly a million people. It is about doing something to end deeply embedded segregation patterns, 'affirmatively furthering fair housing,' as federal law and the settlement explicitly require."  See the full editorial here, and the original plaintiff's letter to the editor in response.  Meanwhile, in recent weeks PRRAC has been working with other civil rights groups to press HUD and the Office of Management & Budget to release the long awaited "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" proposed rule before the fall.


Philip Tegeler

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Washington, DC