Author Topic: Segregation in Hackensack Schools?  (Read 2451 times)

Offline Editor

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Segregation in Hackensack Schools?
« on: May 17, 2004, 11:17:06 AM »
The following quote appeared in a recent Record article:

By 1981, 80 school districts were under desegregation orders, according to Marcellus Smith, a consultant to the state Department of Education and its former lead desegregation expert. Today, 38 districts remain under the order, including Hackensack, Englewood, Paterson, and Passaic. Other districts such as Teaneck have met state guidelines to reduce racial isolation.

Does anyone know why Hackensack was included in the order?  What does the order decree?  

I requested more information from author of the article.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2004, 11:24:09 AM by Editor »

Offline sayhey

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Re:Segregation in Hackensack Schools?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2004, 09:04:20 AM »
That doesn't make any sense ??? ??? ???

Teaneck was removed from the list and Teaneck school system is similar to Hackensack in almost every way as far as ethnic diversity.  Then again, the state swallows an elephant and strains at a knat.


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Re:Nonsense, we're a shining star compared to other cities in NJ
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2004, 12:04:29 AM »
Hackensack is listed in the court order because of the demographics of the schools. The racial balance of the four K-4 schools varies substantially, and this variation exceeds state standards. Jackson Avenue is very heavily Latino, and has by far the lowest African-American enrollment. Hillers is moving in the same direction, it's now over 50% Latino, and African-American enrollment continues to decline. In the other two schools, African-American is the largest group, I believe somewhere in the 40% - 49% range. The state wants the racial balance of all the schools in each city to be relatively close.

In addition, grades K-8 in Hackensack are approximately 15% white, which is lower than what the state wants.  The 15% white does not include Hispanics who classify themselves as white. White and Asian combined is about 22%.  If white enrollment falls under 10%, then we'll get another LABEL from the state policy-makers --- we'll be considered a RACIALLY ISOLATED school district. I believe Hackensack is the only true urban center in NJ that does NOT have a racially isolated school district. Also, it does not appear that this 10% figure will be reached soon. Enrollment figures for Kindergarten and First Grade show the 15% holding steady for the last 5 years, although it goes up or down a point or two every year.

From an education perspective, what really matters is children learning, not what their ethnic background is. From a social policy standpoint, integration must always be considered POSITIVE. Positive for neighborhoods, positive for schools, and positive for families. Every parent should want their children to be in schools that have students of all racial backgrounds well represented.  If any demographic trend threatened the ability of the city to maintain integrated schools, that should be an issue of concern. Although the city's white enrollment of 15% is lower than the white population of 40%, we should be proud of our integrated city and our integrated schools.

Young white parents these days are more likely to accept people of different backgrounds.  They are more likely to accept living in a diverse neighborhood, living in an urban center, and sending their children to a heavily integrated school. The social trend has been positive, and shows every indication of becoming more positive in the future.

Hackensack's identity as a thriving integrated community is becoming more entrenched --- we should not let state policy-makers "attack" us as having "segregated" schools, they should be praising us for maintaining a higher level of integration than any other true urban center in NJ. So shame on them, and shame on any political wannabees in Hackensack who are even thinking of making our supposedly "segregated" schools as a poltical football issue.