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Opinion: A County-Wide Approach to Desegregating NJ Schools

Could magnet schools may be a way for all students to cross district boundaries to get the education they deserve?

By Laura Waters, Courtesy of NJ Spotlight

It’s an old problem: New Jersey has one of the most segregated public school systems in the country. In tony suburban Millburn (Essex County), white and wealthy students attend a high school with great facilities and universally high academic achievement.

A few miles away at Barringer High School in Newark, police pepper-spray students to break up fights and test scores are grim. Notably, only 1 percent of Millburn’s students are economically disadvantaged, while Barringer's kids clock in at 75.5 percent.

Education reform discussions in New Jersey pivot on this inequity. Students are assigned to schools based on where their parents can afford to live. Those granite countertops and wine cellars in Millburn come accessorized with top-notch public schools; we buy our way into academic nirvana. Either you stake your ante on voluntary municipal consolidation (forgive the cynicism, but that’s a pipedream in a state that genuflects to local control) or you look for other forms of school choice that allow children to cross those hallowed district boundaries.

Read more at NJSpotlight.com

NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded.


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