A new lawsuit against the state of New Jersey claims that there is de facto segregation in schools and offers suggestions about how to make the system more inclusive, it was reported on Thursday.
The suit charges that segregation stems from a discriminatory zoning practices and a state law that requires children to attend the school in their zone, according to The New York Times.
“Here in New Jersey, we have segregation that’s more intense than any state today in the South,” Gary Stein, a former New Jersey Supreme Court justice, told the Times
“What we have got in New Jersey, frankly, is an embarrassment. We have segregation at a level that is just intolerable for a state like ours, and we have never addressed it.”
The suit, which was filed by a non profit organization called New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools, asks that children be able to cross municipal lines to attend school.
A spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the governor “believes strongly that we must combat the deeply rooted problem of segregation.”
The legal action in New Jersey comes as the city’s Department of Education has enacted a new “academic diversity” plan that has opened racial divisions in the city.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has defended the plan with an inflammatory tweet about its critics, claiming “wealthy white Manhattan parents angrily rant against plan to bring more black kids to their schools.”
Mayor de Blasio defended the chancellor but said he “might phrase it differently.”