The Saint Albans School
P.S. 36, The St. Albans School is located at 187-01 Foch Boulevard St. Albans, NY. This District #29 public school provides education to grades K-5. The building itself was erected in 1924 and was the first public school in an area that is home to one of New York City’s oldest and most established American neighborhoods.
P.S. 36’s demographics are also representative of the area with African American students representing almost 90 percent of the population.
As per a school quality snapshot provided by the NYC Department of Education only 18% of it’s students met the state standards on the state math test.
Amongst other things, P.S. 36 suffers from a lack of educational resources and a widening student/teacher ratio. It fits the the profile of the performance of New York City public schools based in economically disadvantaged areas.
Over 70 percent of the student body come from economically disadvantaged background.
Some background from theatlantic.com:
“The discrepancies (between poor and rich public schools) occur largely because public school districts in much of America, are run by local cities and towns and are funded by local property taxes. High-poverty areas have lower home values and collect less taxes, and so can’t raise as much money as the neighborhoods where homes are worth millions of dollars.”
“Nationally, high-poverty districts spend 15.6 percent less per student than low-poverty districts do, according to U.S. Department of Education.”
This from lincolnist.edu:
“Local governments provided 45 percent of public school funding in 2013–14, and more than 80 percent came from the property tax. The federal government provided less than 9 percent of the total revenue of public schools, and state governments contributed 46 percent.”
So while Saint Albans has a very rich history and primarily proud African American (and burgeoning West Indian and Caribbean) culture, it’s current infrastructure doesn’t support its children, the future of Saint Albans. The area’s schools don’t give them the best chance to come back home as adults as accomplished and proud Saint Albans natives.
Ironically, this school, P.S. 36, is the same place I voted for the African American presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday November 4th 2008.
I voted for Obama, along with many of my neighbors in Saint Albans, at the time, to make a difference in our neighborhoods with the hope that the kids from this school, would be able to be have a chance to be as hopeful for their future as the kids are from the other side of town.
Words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez