School Segregation and Equity in New Jersey

  


Nearly 100 education, civil rights, labor, faith and local elected leaders gathered on November 30, 2018 to discuss the pressing issue of school segregation in New Jersey.

The symposium organized by the Urban League of Essex County and Building One New Jersey held at Bloomfield College grappled with “problem, consequences and solutions to New Jersey's racially segregated schools”.

The convening included experts, civil rights lawyers and historians and well as educators, parents and practitioners.

Vivian Cox Fraser, CEO of the Urban League of Essex County said the purpose was to “promote discussion and honest dialogue as well as to seek input about possible remedies to the lawsuit”.

The Urban League of Essex County is one of the plaintiffs in a sweeping lawsuit against the state of New Jersey arguing that New Jersey schools are “intensely segregated” and in violation of the state’s own constitution.

Civil Rights Lawyer and retired Rutgers professor Paul Tractenberg presented data from a new report he co-authored, the New Promise of School Integration and the Old Problem of Extreme Segregation: An Action Plan for New Jersey. 

Historians Leslie Wilson from Montclair State University and Khalil Gibran Muhammad of the Harvard Kennedy School provided historical context and personal stories that highlighted the underlying causes as well as the political, social and economic structures underpinning segregation in our society.

Professor Muhammad told the gathering that historically segregated schools were “no accident”. Their purpose, he said, was, and is, “to prepare black children for a life of servitude”. Professor Wilson warned of unintended but harmful consequences from previous efforts to achieve integration saying “we have to think hard and carefully about the outcomes we want from a meaningful school desegregation remedy”.

After a brief presentation on a draft framework for a legislative remedy by Building One New Jersey, a panel of five superintendents from an array of diverse school districts gave their reaction and provided some of their thoughts on the issue.

Thomas Ficarra, South Orange Maplewood School District, shared his experiences serving in three diverse suburban school districts: Morristown, Hamilton (Mercer County) and n0w Maplewood / South Orange School. Dr. Kendra Johnson of Montclair Public Schools talked of the importance of power dynamics when addressing racial disparities. Dr. Miguel Hernandez of Haledon Public Schools spoke about the role of relationship building among students and parents as key to success in his district. Dr. Christine Johnson cautioned about the role of private and charter schools in perpetuating segregation in an otherwise diverse district. Finally, Dr. Rocco Tomazic of Freehold Borough argued that while there were many problems to consider in addressing school segregation, a "bigger and bolder" approach to a remedy was the better way to go.

Audience members including labor leaders, local elected officials, parents and school board members, weighed in with comments and questions that reinforced the sentiment that big and bold over meek and mild was the direction the group wanted to go.

Conference organizers and participants agreed to hold similar gatherings across the state with practitioners and stakeholders and to engage legislative leadership about advancing a meaningful and inclusive process for addressing the problem and the lawsuit.

School Segregation and Equity in New Jersey

Event Date: 
Friday, November 30, 2018 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm

  


School Segregation and Equity in New Jersey

Summit for Civil Rights

The Summit for Civil Rights

November 9–10, 2017

At the University of Minnesota Law School, Mondale Hall

Presented by Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity & Building One America

Building One New Jersey 2017 Policy Forum

School Integration and Funding Equity


Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Building One New Jersey and Mercer County Community College hosted a conversation on segregation and school funding with Professor Myron Orfield, law professor, author, civil-rights attorney, and director of the Institute for Metropolitan Opportunity.

Summit for Inclusive Communities and Sustainable Regions

Event Date: 
Friday, July 21, 2017 - 9:00am to 4:00pm

Building One America will hold its 5th biennial national Summit on July 21, 2017

Over the past 8 years, Building One America has worked to bring attention to increasingly diverse, middle-class communities across the country. We see these places as key to building multi-racial, middle and working-class constituencies needed to address some of our nation’s most pressing problems including racial segregation, fair and inclusive economic growth, and sustainable development.

Building One New Jersey

Restoring the Historic and Powerful Alliance of Labor and Civil Rights for Racial Justice and Economic Opportunity

Building One America held its first in a series Labor / Civil Rights forums in New Jersey on December 17, 2015 with national speakers and local union leaders joined by prominent clergy, civil-rights and civic leaders from across the state.

May 6 Labor/Civil Rights Forum - Building One Ohio

Restoring the Historic and Powerful Alliance

of Labor and Civil Rights

for Racial Justice

and Economic Opportunity

Friday, May 6, 2016 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Leadership Training Institute for Inclusive Communities

Event Date: 
Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 9:00am to Sunday, June 17, 2018 - 5:00pm

LEADERSHIP TRAINING BY BUILDING ONE AMERICA

June 14-17 2018 at Cleveland State University  

Cosponsored by North Shore AFL-CIO       

December 17 Labor/Civil Rights Forum - Building One New Jersey

Restoring the Historic and Powerful Alliance of Labor and Civil Rights for Racial Justice and Economic Opportunity

December 17, 2015 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
The Conference Center at Mercer
1200 Old Trenton Road West Windsor NJ 08550 

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