New Studies by Erase Racism and the Long Island Index Highlight Inequities in Education on Long Island

Contact: Lauren Hiznay


The Studies were Released Today at an Education Forum Convened by ERASE Racism

Melville, NY – January 23, 2015 – ERASE Racism and the Long Island Index each released a new study on inequities in education on Long Island at an education forum convened by ERASE Racism in Melville this morning. The forum brought together school administrators and education advocates to explore tightening school budgets and other structural changes that could be detrimental to the quality of public education on Long Island.

The study by ERASE Racism – titled “Heading in the Wrong Direction: Growing School Segregation on Long Island” – revealed the following:

  • Based on 2000 and 2010 Census data, Long Island continues to be one of the most racially segregated regions in the country with segregation between blacks and whites remaining extremely high and segregation between Latinos, Asians and whites increasing. Since the Latino population is the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group on Long Island, their increased isolation, along with the continuing very high black to white segregation levels, is cause for great concern.
  • Long Island is more segregated by race than by income. Black and Latino families, regardless of their income, experience high levels of racial segregation. For example, on average a black household that earns more than $75,000 resides in a neighborhood with a similar level of exposure to whites as a black household that earns less than $40,000.
  • Racial segregation, combined with concentrated poverty in majority black and Latino neighborhoods, perpetuates a public school system that is separate and unequal. For example, 91% of all students in high need districts are black or Latino.
  • Few of Long Island’s black and Latino students have access to the highest-performing schools on Long Island. Based on graduation rates, 3% of black students, 5% of Latino students, 28% of white students and 30% of Asian students on Long Island have access to the highest-performing school districts. 2
  • Diversity is not a benefit to the region if residents continue to live in segregated neighborhoods and students continue to attend racially and economically segregated schools.

The study by the Long Island Index – titled “Still Separate & Not Getting More Equal: The Persistence of Economic and Racial Inequalities in Education on Long Island” – was written by William Mangino, PhD, and Marc Silver, PhD, both sociology professors at Hofstra University. Its findings include the following:

  • The poorest school districts on Long Island were the hardest hit by the recession. From 2009 to 2011, the average student in a High Poverty District saw expenditures on her education decrease by $1,100. Students in Mid Poverty Districts did not experience a decline in funding; they only saw a leveling-off. Through the decade (2003-2012, the latest data available), Low Poverty Districts increased their spending unabated, even seeing the largest single-year increase in revenues and expenditures from 2009 to 2010.
  • From 2003 to 2012, the gap in financial resources between Long Island’s most privileged students and its most vulnerable students widened. In 2003, the gap in per-pupil expenditures was $2,600 (in 2013 dollars); in 2012, it was $6,000.
  • The “fiscal cushion” of a school district reveals surplus funds and is calculated by subtracting expenditures from revenues for a given year. From 2003 to 2012, Low Poverty Districts averaged a cushion of $565 per student, while Mid Poverty and High Poverty Districts averaged cushions of $341 and $252, respectively. From 2005 to 2012, however, High Poverty Districts and Mid Poverty Districts saw a net decline in their fiscal cushion (respectively, 46% and 23% decreases), while overall Low Poverty Districts enjoyed a 331% increase.
  • Since 2006, schools in both Low and Mid Poverty Districts have been getting smaller, while High Poverty Schools have been getting larger. In 2013, the average school in a Low Poverty District had 614 students, in a Mid Poverty District had 693 students, and in a High Poverty District had 753 students.
  • Schools in Low Poverty Districts are overwhelmingly white; schools in High Poverty Districts are predominantly Latino and Black.

“Educational inequality is firmly in place on Long Island,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation and Publisher of the Long Island Index. “If we expect public education to be the great equalizer – giving all students equal access to the American dream – we will have to confront the realities evident in these studies and make changes.”

“Addressing the issues raised by these reports is crucial,” said V. Elaine Gross, President of ERASE Racism. “Education equity can only be achieved through addressing housing discrimination and by creating education policies at the state and local levels that promote racially integrated schools and classrooms.”

The ERASE Racism study is available at The Long Island Index study is available at

About ERASE Racism

ERASE Racism ( is a regional organization that leads public policy advocacy campaigns and related programmatic initiatives, community organizing, and legal action to promote racial equity in areas such as housing, public school education and public health. It engages in a variety of research, education and consulting activities to identify and address institutional and structural racism, especially on Long Island.

About the Long Island Index

Now in its 12th year, the Long Island Index is a source of unbiased reliable data for businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, educators, and townships throughout the region. Funded by the Rauch Foundation (, its overarching goals are to measure where we are and show trends over time, encourage regional thinking, compare Long Island’s situation with those in similar regions, increase awareness of issues and their interrelatedness, and inspire Long Islanders to work together to achieve shared goals. The Long Island Index is available for download at; its interactive maps – an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information – as well as the Build a Better Burb website are also accessible from the Index’s website.