May 17, 2018
On May 17, 2018, leading education advocates and civil rights leaders filed a historic lawsuit in state court designed to integrate New Jersey’s schools. A copy of the complaint can be found here.
“Sixty-four years after the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, New Jersey’s public schools are as segregated by race and poverty today as they were in 1954,” said Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “Sixty-four years after Brown, we have important promises to keep and still others to make to New Jersey’s students. This case is about finally making good on our promises.”
New Jersey’s racial diversity and racial segregation, in combination with its extreme wealth and punishing poverty, has created in New Jersey’s public school classrooms some of the fiercest segregation by race, ethnicity, and poverty in this country:
The median net worth for New Jersey’s white families is $271,402—the highest in America.
The median net worth for New Jersey’s Hispanic and Black families is just $7,020 and $5,900, respectively, together totaling less than 5 percent of the net worth of white families in the state.
Of the approximately 585,000 Black and Latino public school students in New Jersey, 63% of them attend schools that are more than 75% non-white.
Nearly half of all Black and Latino public school students attend schools that are more than 90% non-white.
More than 40 percent of white students attend schools that are at least 75% white.
“New Jersey cannot fulfill the promise of Brown, or the promise owed to our kids, without this lawsuit,” said Haygood. “No amount of good will, well wishes, or optimism will accomplish the systemic relief and fundamental transformation that is required. Integration is possible, it is necessary, and it is long overdue.”
Full disclosure: Institute Communications Director Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg's son is a plaintiff in the case and Weill-Greenberg is listed as his Guardian Ad Litem.