Economic divide in Westchester public schools

Percent of Free and Reduced LunchAlexander Roberts, executive director of the fair housing group Community Innovations Inc., said he looked for years for a visual representation that showed how Westchester County exclusionary zoning affects all residents in Westchester County.

He said he found one by creating a map of county school districts with the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches in each area.

“If you look at it, it’s such a blatant example of the social engineering going on in Westchester County,” he said. “There is a history and a philosophy in this country that public education was the great equalizer and this is certainly not the case in Westchester. If you’re poor, you’re not likely to be able to be in one of the better school districts.”

Roberts focused specifically on the Yonkers and Mount Vernon school districts, which had 72 percent and 66 percent of their respective student bodies eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. The map was created using PolicyMap, an online data mapping tool, and used numbers from 2011-12 school year recipients and the 2011-12 school year counts of students as reported in the Common Core of Data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Read the full article by Mark Lungariello on Westchester Business Journal here.