Jersey City Chief Municipal Prosecutor and Ward E council candidate Jake Hudnut is coming out against the board of education changing admission policies at McNair Academic High School and Infinity Institute.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“While the intent here may be noble, the sad truth is that this policy change would take opportunities away from Downtown students and could easily result in a less diverse student body, as has happened in other areas where similar changes have been implemented,” Hudnut said in a statement.
“Low income Black and Hispanic students could be disenfranchised simply because they live in neighborhoods that also include more affluent residents, as is the case for many areas of Downtown. For example, Holland Gardens and SoHo Lofts are in the same Downtown neighborhood. Should those children be competing against each other for a limited number of seats? Absolutely not.”
Last month, the BOE approved a measure to review and change admission policies for McNair and Infinity High Schools beginning with the class of 2026.
At the time, the board expressed that the new admissions process will work to improve socioeconomic diversity in their magnet high schools, which is currently based solely on race and a final plan has not bee presented yet.
According to Hudnut’s campaign, the plan would shift admissions away from an equitable race-based formula and instead apportion seats by dividing Jersey City’s neighborhoods based on socioeconomic tiers, Hudnut’s campaign said today.
He cautions that this change will take crucial educational opportunities away from Downtown families, especially those of color, who live nearby more affluent residents.
Because the proposal’s new standards may be census-based, Hudnut also argues that it is irresponsible to base new admissions standards on an event that happens every 10 years, especially considering how quickly Jersey City’s neighborhoods grow and change.
“McNair and Infinity are successful, nationally recognized schools, but unfortunately not all of our public schools can say the same. The board of education should be focused on improving the quality of all of our schools so that every student in this city has a meaningful and solid education, not on damaging the jewels of our public school system,” he added.
“The fact that Councilman Solomon has not been engaged on this issue speaks volumes, and it’s time for him to take a stand and work with parents to stop this policy from being enacted — if he can’t do that, it’s just more proof that we need a proven problem solver representing us on the council to tackle the toughest issues facing Downtown.”
In his own statement, Solomon responded that said it’s a “false choice” to say that admissions should have to consider race or socioeconomic status as opposed to both.
“McNair and Infinity High Schools are extraordinary community institutions. In addition to educating young people, these schools also serve as a way to lift families out of poverty. It is a false choice to say that admissions should take into consideration either race OR socio-economic status,” the incumbent said.
“Both should be taken into consideration. Our schools must be equitable. They must ensure that fewer families live in poverty by giving young people the tools they need to succeed. As the school board develops its proposal to update their admissions policies, I strongly urge them to keep both of those priorities in mind.”
The Jersey City non-partisan municipal elections are on November 2nd, where Hudnut is running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket and Solomon is running as an independent.