Is “One Newark” Racist?

Cross-posted at Jersey Jazzman.

Is One Newark, the school reorganization plan for New Jersey largest city, racist? Well…

Under One Newark, “Schools assigned the consequential classifications have substantively and statistically significantly greater shares of low income and black students.” That’s racist.

Under One Newark, “NPS’s black teachers are far more likely to teach black students; consequently, these black teachers are more likely to face an employment consequence as black students are more likely to attend schools sanctioned under One Newark.” That’s racist.

Under One Newark, “Schools that are “Falling Behind” have significantly larger proportions of black students than schools that are “On The Move” or “Great.” Those “Great” schools also have significantly fewer students in poverty (as measured by free lunch eligibility) than “Falling Behind” and “On The Move” schools. “Great” schools also serve fewer special education students, and a slightly smaller proportion of boys.”

However, “… even by NPS’s own questionable standards, the classification of schools under the One Newark rating system appears to be arbitrary and capricious.”  That’s racist.

– When the elected mayor, elected school board, and elected city council have all objected to One Newark, but the plan is being implemented anyway because the state controls Newark and several other districts with large numbers of students of color:

That’s not only racist — it’s undemocratic.

So when three teacher-bloggers say that the head of the editorial board of the state’s largest newspaper espouses a racist policy because he supports One Newark, they can say so confidently.

Because it’s true.


“I am against giving gay and lesbian people the right to marry.”

“Marriage inequity is inherently homophobic.”

“You’re calling me a homophobe!”

“No, I said the policy you espouse is homophobic.”

“Same difference. You’re poisoning the debate.”

* * *

“Woman make pennies on the dollar compared to men because of sexist policies.”

“I don’t support the changes you want, so you think I’m a sexist.”

“I didn’t say you were a sexist; I said you don’t want to change sexist policies.”

“Same difference. I refuse to debate you any further.”

* * *

See how it works? If anyone wants to call a policy racist, or sexist, or homophobic, they have to jump through a bunch of verbal hoops — put in place by assertions of power — and dilute their language to appease those who disagree.

This sort of language policing is little more than a form of protecting privilege.

For what it’s worth, I think those of us who live in various forms of privilege ought to think about this.

Comments (2)

  1. vmars

    Racist implies intent to impact a segment, and I think that’s what Moran is pushing back against.  These data show that the impact is racial, but not that the intent is, and he believes that his support is not intended to harm one population over another.  

    I think, however, that the refusal to address the obvious negative impact on African Americans can be categorized as racist.  One Newark may not have been created with racist goals in mind, but leaving disproportionate racial impacts in place does appear to be racist.

    Once the One Newark people know that the impact is disproportionately negative to one population and they do not fix it — or once an editor sees the evidence and doesn’t call for it to be fixed — the word racist is appropriate if inflammatory.  


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