Two of Jersey City’s elite schools, McNair Academic High School and Infinity Institute, may value socioeconomic status over race in their new admissions process. The Board of Education is considering making the change for the fall of 2022, but community members caution against it, warning that it will hurt students of color in the long run. The current admissions process was designed to desegregate the schools, and opponents of the change say gentrification in Jersey City will eventually keep certain communities out of these blue-ribbon schools.
Community activist Pamela Johnson said, even with the current admissions process including race, it’s still hard for Black people in the community to get a seat at the table. “If you swap out the current requirement and you now have this economic component, that will be a hardship for Black students. And it is not solving the problem right? We know the disparities, we know the underserved population, and we know that Black folks are continuously left out of the system. When you bring in that economic component, it then has so many other ethnic groups ahead of us, it’s going to actually hurt us.”