School Colors Episode 6 : Code Switch Though a lot of parents and educators agree there needs to be some change in District 28, the question remains: what kind of change? When we asked around, more diversity wasn't necessarily at the top of everybody's list. In fact, from the north and south, we heard a lot of the same kind of thing: "leave our kids where they are and give all the schools what they need."

We went to the Southside and asked parents and school leaders directly, what do the schools need?

School Colors Episode 6: 'Below Liberty'

School Colors Episode 6: 'Below Liberty'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1105664098/1105784548" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
LA Johnson
School Colors Episode 6: "Below Liberty."
LA Johnson

As we talked about in the last episode, Queens has changed a lot in the last few decades – and so has District 28. New immigrant communities have taken root and the district is, on the whole, pretty diverse. But most Black folks still live on the Southside and the schools below Liberty Avenue continue to struggle.

Though a lot of parents and educators agree there needs to be some change in District 28, the question remains: what kind of change? When we asked around, more diversity wasn't necessarily at the top of everybody's list. In fact, from the north and south, we heard a lot of the same kind of thing: "leave our kids where they are and give all the schools what they need."

The diversity planning process was supposed to be an opportunity for people in District 28 to have difficult conversations across racial lines and to confront challenges in the district that have persisted for years, but they never got the chance. That's where we come in.

We went to the Southside and asked parents and school leaders directly, what do the schools need? And what are the stakes for families on the Southside when we "leave those kids where they are" and their needs are not met over generations?

Listen to Code Switch on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.