G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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I truly enjoy acrimony between elite hipster liberals whose true colors come out like Bloods and Crips when they begin discussing school zoning issues. From Park Slope, Brooklyn:
When Park Slope mom Anita Gasser-Bodzin told her friends how much her daughter Emma was thriving in a second-grade class with chess, gardening, music and drama programs, her fellow mothers immediately wanted to know which school the 7-year-old was attending.
When she told them Emma was at P.S. 282, “their eyes almost fell out,” Gasser-Bodzin remembers.
This same group of moms had questioned her decision to send Emma to P.S. 282. “My friends were like, ‘Don’t you know it’s a black school?’ I was like, ‘What did you just say?’” Gasser-Bodzin recalled.
Even in a neighborhood that prides itself on progressive thinking, discomfort around P.S. 282′s racial makeup is a common theme when families chat about local schools, parents say.
Meanwhile, P.S. 282 suffers from the perception that it doesn’t measure up academically to its neighborhood peers.
Some say that reputation is undeserved, but it means that few local families are willing to send their kids to P.S. 282. A mere 15 percent of P.S. 282′s pre-K through fifth-grade students actually live in the school’s zone, a desirable section of the North Slope full of multimillion-dollar brownstones.
“There’s a mythology that’s developed in the Slope among more affluent parents, especially those newer to the neighborhood, about P.S. 282 that is wildly different from the on-the-ground reality,” Underwood said.
“P.S. 282 is a great school.”
Gasser-Bodzin said she’s mystified by the school’s bad reputation. Her two daughters love P.S. 282 so much they “skip” to the school every morning, and she’s been “blown away” by their academic progress, she said.
Her older daughter, Emma, started reading chapter books at the end of kindergarten, she said.
But in Brooklyn the diversity is real. And Park Slope is in Brooklyn, not Maine. If white parents want exclusively white, affluent schools, they should move to Darien. I just find it kind of amazing how there exist as many white parents in the Slope as there are who can so strongly support a black man for President, but can’t get their heads around their child going to a majority African-American school led by a strong African-American woman.