Colt Shaw, Inquirer, November 15, 2017
For the first time, whites no longer constitute a majority in New Jersey’s public schools, which are becoming more segregated, a team of researchers reported Wednesday.
Students of all races in New Jersey are attending schools that are less diverse in recent years, a phenomenon tied to housing segregation, according to the study by the UCLA Civil Rights Project.
In the 1989-90 school year, whites made up about two-thirds of the public-school population, the report said. In 2015-16, that figure was down to 46.6 percent, yet the typical white student attended a school that was more than two-thirds white.
The segregation is related to geography rather than overt policy, the researchers said: “Segregation is mostly between districts, not within districts.”
“There’s a lot of data that shows that, in a lot of places, municipalities are becoming more segregated,” Ryan Coughlan, an assistant professor of sociology at Guttman Community College CUNY and coauthor of the study, said in an interview Wednesday. “And that’s a central problem.”
Most districts’ student populations match the demographics, Coughlan said. But only 1 in 5 districts matches countywide demographics. And fewer than 3 percent of districts come close to matching the state’s demographics.