Local principals stood up, one by one on Tuesday night, and told an auditorium full of parents that something had to change.
"I don't think we're really preparing our kids for the diverse world we're sending them into," one said.
"One thing that we know is that they will live in a multilingual, multicultural, multiracial society," said another. "What we can do now in middle school and elementary school and high school is one first step to help prepare them for the future they will encounter."
In the final public meeting on a highly-charged topic, the city education department presented its fourth plan for how the city might try to make the middle schools on Upper West Side and in lower Harlem less segregated by race, economic class, and academic ability.
The latest proposal would require all 17 district middle schools reserve 25 percent of their seats for kids who come from poor households and have a combination of low state test scores and low elementary school grades.
The changes would likely mean the most sought after middle schools in the area would enroll more black and Hispanic students from poor households.
Many parents in the area say that while they support diversity in theory, they oppose the proposed changes because they are worried they will negatively impact their children.
Others say they are worried the education department is moving students around without improving the low-performing schools.
"I like that they want to have no segregation in our schools, so that's great," one parent said. "But I don't see a plan of success. I don't see how they are going to implement the plans."
Video from a NY1 story last month on an earlier meeting about these issues went viral, after it showed some white parents enraged over the proposed changes.
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This week, the superintendent and several principals spoke out passionately for the need to take some action, while acknowledging that no plan with be a perfect solution.
"I lived in North Carolina, I'd never gone to school with white students," said Charles Deberry, the principal of PS/IS 76. "So it's hard to believe that in New York City, one of the largest cities in the world, we have large groups of students who only see students who look like themselves, and that we're not doing anything to try to provide them with opportunities to go to school in a diverse population."
The superintendent will decide what to do in coming weeks, but it’s likely she'll decide to implement one of the proposed plans, especially given that the new schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, has spoken out repeatedly in support of some action being taken to combat segregation in this area.