NJSBA’s Take on New U.S. DOE Guidelines re: Athletes with DisabilitiesJanuary 30, 2013
Quote of the DayFebruary 1, 2013
NJ Spotlight has been covering (here and here) the activities of a group of Newark parents who filed a civil rights complaint against Newark Public Schools. The complaint alleges that New Jersey is discriminating against black and Hispanic kids because many of the schools targeted for closure in Newark have a high-minority enrollment.
From the complaint:
In recent years Newark has become the model of “education reform” based on the
external influences of the $100 million dollar gift from Face book owner- Mark Zuckerberg. The conditions of this support from Zuckerberg came with a price, which included school closures, co-locations, and the Newark 2020 Plan. The plan has produced displacement of students, larger class sizes (30-40 students), and an increase in violence, and destruction of neighborhood.
Certainly, it’s disruptive to close schools, even those that have failed students for decades. But I don’t know of any school in Newark that has 40 kids in a class or how one links neighborhood violence – endemic in Newark – to increases in charter schools or closures of some of the city’s many underutilized buildings.
Just yesterday the Star-Ledger reported that police had to use pepper spray to break up a brawl at Barringer High School. At Barringer, one of those schools slated for intensive scrutiny and, presumably, one of the schools that the Newark parents want to protect, 61.4% of 11th and 12th graders failed the high school proficiency assessment in language arts and 80.6% failed the test in math (according to the DOE’s most recent data). The graduation rate is 36%.
Is it a civil rights violation to intervene at Barringer or is a civil rights violation to ignore the dysfunction?
It’s true that he population of Newark is largely black and Hispanic. It’s true that many of NJ’s worst schools are in urban areas that are largely black and Hispanic, and that some of those schools have been identified for intensive intervention by the DOE. But how do you get from there to a violation of civil rights?