As I put the finishing touches on the next Chester Matters newspaper issue, I thought I’d tease you with one of the articles.
The paper will feature a long form article covering the Brown vs. Board of Education case as it just celebrated its 65th anniversary. You’ll read the history of Brown, what got it started, how it got approved, what it changed, and where we are now.
This article I’m sharing now is a ‘where we are now’ piece.
The fight against Brown v BoE is still going on in the courts of New Jersey
‘Talks on segregated N.J. schools break down’ is the name of an article from Inquirer.com proving the Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court ruling is not settled law and could be challenged across America if parents and communities desire to put up that fight. New Jersey is going for it…
The New Jersey lawsuit alleges that the state has been “complicit” in creating and perpetuating “one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation,” because it requires “with very limited exceptions” students to attend public schools in the towns where they live.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? When’s the last time a student from Chester attended Penncrest, Ridley, Strath Haven, or Radnor? Why haven’t they? Because a parent risks being arrested for ‘stealing education.’ That’s an actual charge in some places. It may have a different name around here but it’s against the law to get caught sending a student to a better school outside of the school district which she lives.
While the total of black and Latino New Jersey students is nearly equal to the white total statewide, most black and Latino students attend schools that are largely nonwhite, the suit says, and a growing number of students attend schools that are 99 percent nonwhite.
With stats like this, it’s kinda hard to dispute segregated schools actually exist in 2019 America.
Nationally, the percentage of public schools that are over 90 percent nonwhite has tripled since 1988, to 18.2 percent in 2016, according to a report this month by UCLA and Penn State professors.
Therefore, Brown vs. Board of Education don’t mean squat. The trends toward segregating schools has never been more pronounced. It’s the direction the country have decided it wants to continue to go.
The suit also alleges that “an alarming number” of black and Latino students are being denied a thorough and efficient education — another requirement of the NJ state constitution — “because educational opportunity is … undermined for students in schools that are often characterized by intense poverty and social isolation.”
Poor students go to schools in poorly funded school districts. Just look at that chart again. The last column says it all.
The suit asks the court to stop the state from continuing to assign students to schools solely based on municipal boundaries, and to order the legislature and the Department of Education to come up with a new methodology. It suggests several options, including inter-district transfer plans, the creation of magnet schools that would draw from multiple districts, and a system that would allow families to rank school choices, then assign them based on preference as well as diversity goals.
Raise you hand if you think this approach should have been tried many years ago, or at least at some point after the Brown decision?
Let’s be clear. How much longer can this country miseducate the rising majority of its people and still expect to be a world power? If all it takes is to balance out the education offerings to a larger segment of young people, isn’t it likely there’d be more productive citizens making meaningful contributions in medicine, technology, education, science, law, world affairs, warfare, agriculture, media, theology, and so on?
There’s still a lot of people who don’t want black, white, Hispanic, and Asian children in the same classroom. Makes you wonder who all these intelligent people are who allow segregated schools to persist. Any clue?