Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Only a Single Black Student in Hoboken's District Run Pre-K

Back in September 2015, Senators Mike Doherty (R) and Teresa Ruiz (D) argued over the merits of continuing Hoboken's Abbott status and its "free" Pre-K.

Doherty demanded an explanation for how the state could allow this injustice to persist:

Doherty made the point that the individuals in Hoboken have a median income of $69,000, compared to $29,000 in Hackettstown. And yet Hoboken, not Hackettstown, has a state paid-for pre-K program based on its designation as an Abbott School District.
“You could be a Wall Street executive and before you hop in your limo you could drop your child off at pre-school paid for by the taxpayers of Hackettstown”

In response, Teresa Ruiz said that Hoboken's Abbott status was justified because it had so many black and Latino students:

“How do we bridge our achievement gap?  How do we expand high optimal programs? Hoboken [when designated an Abbott District] was a different community than it is today. It’s nothing we’re going to figure out toda. Many Latino and African-American families needed to utilize those programs.”

Well, times have changed and there are few Hispanics anymore in Hoboken's Pre-K and almost no black students.

Out of 173 kids getting "free" Pre-K in Hoboken through the BOE, 139 are white.  I don't know if that counts as "lily white," but it's pretty damn close.  There are five kids who are biracial, nine who are Asian, and 17 who are Hispanic (who of course may be white and in Hoboken are rarely Spanish speaking.).

The original source of this is the DOE's Enrollment Files.

As part of the Abbott program there are also private Pre-K providers in Hoboken who operate with state money (ie, your money).  This option is more popular among Hoboken parents, with 596 students enrolled versus the only 173 enrolled in the school district's own Pre-K.  Presumably there are more black kids enrolled in the private Pre-K, but since that data isn't available publicly online, I can't say what its demographics are.

Click to Enlarge

This underscors the ridiculousness of David Sciarra's full-throated defense of Hoboken's Pre-K privileges in 2013, although then there were 10 black students and 42 Hispanic students out of 221.

NJ Legislature!  Update the Abbott list now!

HT: Dr. Anthony Petrosino for pointing this out to me.

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