Battle over diversity at City Honors gets new push from local parent group

Local News

A local parent group says this is a story of the haves and the have nots, as they continue their push to diversify one City Honors.

The group submitted a complaint to the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights claiming a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Previously, the district was given 24 recommendations from doctor Gary Orfield from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. Only 19 of those were implemented.

The group is asking for the other recommendations to be implemented as well. One of those was creating a second City Honors School.

“We had a great program at Emerson. So guess what they did? They made an Emerson two, there’s an emerson two now. So, why can’t we create a City Honors two,” said Samuel Radford II, district parent coordinating council, who said the group will submit a complaint to the state attorney general’s office on Thursday.

“They shut the door to the people who live in the neighborhood,” said Patricia Elliott Patton district parent. “They shut the door to the people who live in the community.”

A representative from the district says of the 24 of the recommendations, five were “modified.” It wasn’t clear if “modified” means they’re going to implement the remaining 5 recommendations.

According to the New York State Department of Education enrollment data for City Honors as a whole.

2017 – 2018 — 179 Black Students / 633 White Students

2016 – 2017 — 186 Black Students / 634 White.

For more information on the school state statisics and report card visit

The district responded to the parents claims in a statement:

“Parent leaders should be commended on their advocacy for proportional diversity at City Honors School.  They are essential partners for us and key allies in the work of the Education Bargain.
In addition to Dr. Gary Orfield’s recommendations from 2014, the District implemented 17 further reforms to increase access and opportunity for all students.  Now, for the first time, the current 5th grade class that entered this past fall at City Honors is composed of a majority of non-white students (53%).  African American and Hispanic/Latino students were admitted at higher rates than in prior years (31%).  Additionally, students currently enrolled in the Buffalo Public Schools now make up the majority of new students entering City Honors School. 
There is much more work to accomplish, particularly for African American and Hispanic/Latino students who have experienced the greatest disparity in enrollment.  But this progress reminds us that the student talent is here from every part of Buffalo. And we should all join together to stay on track with even further improvements.”

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