Conference Reading: Desegregation Plan: Eliminate All Gifted Programs in New York

For years, New York City has essentially maintained two parallel public school systems. A group of selective schools and programs geared to students labeled gifted and talented is filled mostly with white and Asian children. The rest of the system is open to all students and is predominantly black and Hispanic. Now, a high-level panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these selective programs in an effort to desegregate the system, which has 1.1 million students and is by far the largest in the country. (NY Times)

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Conference Reading: Racial Equity Concerns Surface at Public Forum on School Redistricting

Issues of race dominated the second of six public forums exploring what a countywide study on public school boundaries should strive to achieve. The Thursday night meeting at Quince Orchard High School in North Potomac, attended by about 50 people, included questions of what would happen if students from schools with poor academic performance were moved into schools with higher achievement. "They won’t be able to keep up and they won’t study,” one parent said. Other parents said white families are being punished for “working hard and doing well and choosing to live in a certain community.” (Bethesda)

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Conference Reading: Liberals for Inequality

My colleague Binyamin Appelbaum recently went to a meeting of the Montgomery County Council in suburban Maryland. There, he watched well-off homeowners fight against a new ordinance to create additional housing. “You work hard, and you get to go live in Montgomery County,” one retired lawyer said. “Does that mean it has to be the first place you live? No. You can drive a little further and work your way up to it.” The attitudes at that meeting were another example of Nimbyism — the “not in my backyard” phenomenon, in which people oppose development in their own communities, even when it would have big benefits. Nimbyism has also been an issue in San Francisco, New York, Boston and other metropolitan areas. (New York Times)

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Conference Reading: NCSHA Washington Report

In an otherwise thoughtful overview of the housing crisis and the various proposals to address it from Democrats running for president, Vox’s Matthew Iglesias concludes, “There’s no particular reason the real estate problems facing writers in a handful of expensive coastal cities should dominate the national policy conversation,” and so, “housing looks more like a niche state and local issue that happens to be salient in the country’s main media and political circles … likely as it should be.” As the current frontrunner among the Democrats might say, “What a bunch of malarkey.” In fact, 54 million people live in rural areas that the USDA says have a “most severe need” or “moderately severe need” for the production of more affordable rental housing. (NCSHA)

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Conference Reading: Inequities in Opportunity and Achievement in Maryland

"Maryland has long prided itself on its education system. A deeper look at the data, however, shows that statewide averages mask deep inequities in opportunity for certain groups of students. These gaps in opportunity lead to gaps in achievement between students of color and White students, as well as between low-income students and higher income students. What’s more, racial inequities persist among students of similar family income levels. To be clear, these disparities are a reflection of how we organize our schools and shortchange certain students when it comes to critical educational opportunities/resources from early childhood through high school." (Ed Trust)

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Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of Maryland Reached Hundreds of Residents Across The State With Educational Trailer Featuring Signs of Substance Misuse

The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland teamed up with its partners to bring the RALI CARES interactive trailer to locations across the state in an effort to help educate parents and adults on the warning signs of teenage substance misuse.

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Conference Reading: Google invests $50 million to build low-income housing in the Bay Area

Google on Wednesday invested $50 million to build low-income homes around the Bay Area, taking a step toward fulfilling the lofty $1 billion housing promise the tech titan made last month. The Mountain View-based search giant will invest the money in Housing Trust Silicon Valley’s TECH Fund — a program launched in 2017 that uses money from local companies and large organizations to fund affordable housing. Google’s $50 million contribution marks the fund’s largest investment to date, and comes as Bay Area tech companies increasingly are attempting to help mitigate the housing shortage that has driven prices sky-high across the Bay Area. It’s a crisis those tech companies often are blamed for helping to create, as they flood the region with high-paying jobs that drive up housing demand and prices. (Mercury News)

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Conference Reading: Democrats Hear the ‘Yes in My Backyard’ Message

Last week, Amy Klobuchar became the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to say out loud that cities and towns need to let people build more housing. She joined Cory Booker, Julián Castro, and Elizabeth Warren in proposing a more active federal role in getting state and local governments to loosen zoning rules—a topic that, up to now, has not figured prominently in campaigns for the White House. The four candidates are demonstrating how much traction the YIMBY movement—the “yes in my backyard” campaign to roll back bans on new houses and apartments—has gained in Democratic policy circles. They and other Democratic candidates are sending an important message: A housing crunch in metro areas where tens of millions of Americans live is the kind of problem a president should worry about. (Atlantic)

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