Back to school realities 🍎

The kids went back to school this week, so packed lunches, late-night homework and extracurricular activities are all back on the menu.

But in some Long Island communities, it’s a different story for families whose children will be attending struggling schools in their neighborhoods. Despite the region’s rich landscape, beautiful beaches, even some of the best schools in the state, Long Island remains one of the most segregated suburbs in the country, with some of the most segregated schools. In fact, 92% of students in high poverty schools are black or hispanic, according to the 2018 Long Island Index Indicators Report. In these communities, lunch, homework and extracurricular activities are all vastly different experiences.

Many are fighting to make Long Island a place where every student gets equal access to quality care and education. Jacob Dixon, who founded Choice for All, tells us about the disparities in one school district that affect 89% of the students there. Next week look for our Q&A with Elaine Gross of Erase Racism, who tells us how we can come together to tackle some of those deep-rooted issues. We also hear from Long Island’s youngest legislator Josh Lafazan, who wants to encourage all youth to effectively advocate for themselves in local government. Finally, student Sufyan Hameed shares about life on the other side of the tracks for Hempstead students.

The way to propel the region forward is to invest in our children. More conversations need to be had around the ways we can provide our kids with equal access to opportunities, so they too can — and want — to make Long Island home someday.

How can we make every Long Island school better for future generations? Tell nextLI@newsday.com.

Coralie Saint-Louis, nextLI outreach and engagement manager & Amanda Fiscina, nextLI project manager


What we’re reading

We’re always on the lookout for articles, websites and projects to inspire our work. Here are a few links that caught our attention since our last update:

We’re always on the lookout for articles, websites and projects to inspire our work. Here are a few links that caught our attention since our last update:

  • Nieman Lab chronicles how a news site in Germany is pairing up liberals and conservatives and actually getting them to (gasp) have a civil conversation.
  • Guess what? Congress works for you and ProPublica is going to show you how to be better boss. The time is so ripe for this User’s Guide to Democracy and we especially like the personalized email format they are using to engage with readers.
  • The American Press Institute writes about how by creating a reader advisory board and hosting monthly meetings a neighborhood became better connected to its newspaper because of the culture of listening created. That’s certainly a goal we have for nextLI.