Segregation Found In N.J. Education System

BY GIANNA MERCADANTE
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Rutgers Institute on Education Law and Policy (IELP) has released a report revealing double segregation prominent New Jersey schools.  The report showed that a majority of minority students in New Jersey face isolation by race and economic status.

IELP titled the report “New Jersey’s Apartheid and Intensely Segregated Urban Schools: Powerful Evidence of an Inefficient and Unconstitutional State Education System”. It refers to New Jersey’s “apartheid” schools because of their overwhelming similarities to schools created by apartheid laws. The report defines these schools as having zero to one percent White students, and “intensely segregated” schools as having zero to 10 percent White students.

Racial segregation can be problem more frequently seen in states in the South. However, African American students in New Jersey are twice as likely to attend "apartheid" schools than students in the South. Coming after the areas around Chicago and Detroit, New Jersey has the third highest fraction of black students in the state in "apartheid" schools, with 26 percent in attendance.

IELP also studied so-called intensely segregated schools, finding that 12 N.J. schools districts fell under the category of 100 percent intensely segregated. These areas are located in “poor urban” districts as classified by the state, and include Essex, Camden, Passaic, and Union Counties. According to the report, Essex is the most segregated of all counties, and it alone contains nearly half of the state’s apartheid schools.

Both African American and Latino students make up the majority of students who are affected by New Jersey’s education inequality. 26 percent of the state’s Black students and about 13 percent of the state’s Latino students attend the mere eight percent of N.J schools that fall into the category of apartheid schools. Only 314 whites out of the entire majority student population attend these schools, compared to 55,683 blacks and 36,597 Latinos.

Professor Paul Tractenberg of the IELP contributed to the report and was shocked at the research findings.

“I was frankly blindsided once I started focusing on the categories of ‘intensely segregated’ and ‘apartheid’ schools,” he tells northjersey.com. “I find it extremely depressing that New Jersey has what I believe is the strongest state constitution requiring racial balance in the schools, and we have done pretty much zero with that.”

The 25-page report contains statistical research conducted by both IELP and The Civil Rights Project, a national policy think tank. Both groups outline the severe bifurcation of New Jersey schools, and stress the importance of allowing students easier access to integrated schools. The report emphasizes that a more integrated classroom is important for all students to prepare for a diverse society and future.

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