IntegrateNYC v. New York

Protecting New York City School Students’ Right to an Antiracist Education

The New York State Constitution guarantees all students a sound basic education, preparing them to participate meaningfully in civic and economic life. But in New York City, a two-tier school system excludes many Black and Latinx students from educational opportunity, reinforcing the inequalities that public education is meant to dismantle. The result is one of the nation’s most segregated school systems: in the 2018–19 school year, close to 75% of Black and Latinx students attended schools with less than 10% white students, and over 34% of white students attended schools with majority white populations, notwithstanding that only 15% of City students are white.

In March 2021, Public Counsel and co-counsel, representing youth-led organization IntegrateNYC and City students, filed the first lawsuit in the nation asserting a right to an antiracist education. The lawsuit, filed against State and City defendants, challenges the many ways in which the State and City reproduce racial inequality through the City school system, including: maintaining a racialized pipeline to the City’s prime educational opportunities, which relegates many students of color to neglected schools; allowing schools to teach a white and Eurocentric curriculum that marginalizes people of color; failing to build and support a diverse educator workforce; and failing to provide adequate mental health supports to redress the racialized harms students experience in City schools. 

In June 2021, two additional organizations — the New York City Coalition of Educational Justice and P.S. 132 Parents for Change — joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs.

UPDATE: On May 2, 2024, the New York State Appellate Court ruled the lawsuit could proceed, allowing the legal challenge to segregation and racial inequity in New York City’s public school system to move forward. Read the ruling here.

  • Supreme Court of the State of New York
  • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division—First Department
  • Appeal successful; case remanded for further proceedings
  • Case No.: 152743
  • Appellate Case No.: 2022-02719