Poll: 24% Black parents, compared to 73% white parents, want N.J. schools to reopen

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A poll conducted by Project Ready New Jersey shows that voters are split on whether or not schools should reopen yet, where just 24 percent of Black parents want their children to return to the classroom, compared to 73 percent of white parents.

Ferris High School in Jersey City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Additionally, the survey of 960 voters conducted by Change Research and commissioned by the Newark-based non-profit Project Ready found that the children of Black parents (78 percent) are much more likely to participate in only remote learning instruction than the children of white parents (29 percent).

Along those lines, only 23 percent of white parents prefer all learning to stay remote, while  67 percent of Black parents are in favor of virtual learning.

“As a Black parent myself, these results are deeply troubling. Not because parents are doing anything wrong by choosing what they believe to be the safest option for their families, but because as a society, we have let families down by not creating the conditions for Black parents to feel comfortable sending their children back into school buildings,” Project Ready Executive Director Shennell McCloud said in a statement.

“It’s critical that state and city leaders work hard to win families’ trust so that inequity in access to learning does not disproportionately harm Black children any more than it already has.”

A closer look at the poll data continues to exhibit a wide a racial gap on this subject.

Overall, 46 percent of voters believe the state is moving too slowly compared to 22 percent who say it is moving too fast, though just 20 percent of Black and 27 percent of Hispanic voters believe the state is moving too slowly – compared to 53 percent of white voters.

For remote learning households, over a third, 36 percent, of Black parents say they lack sufficient internet access compared to just 13 percent of white parents.

Furthermore, parents are worried about their kids falling behind with remote learning. Over two-thirds, 69 percent, expressed this concern, including 75 percent of white parents and 60 percent of African-Americans polled.

Additionally, white and Hispanic parents are most concerned about their child’s mental health and emotional well-being, followed by their child’s long-term success.

Black parents are equally concerned about mental health and emotional well-being, not completing the curriculum for their grade and not being able to provide financially because of needing to be at home during the school day.

When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic as a whole, a plurality among all voters think believe things are are starting to get better, 41 percent, versus the 31 percent who feel things are still getting worse.

In Hudson County, school districts are trying different approaches.

Last week, Jersey City parents and students called on the board of education to reopen schools as soon as possible, despite plans to remain remote through April 21st (which still haven’t changed as of this writing).

Bayonne will continue remote learning through March, though very parents vocalized any issues with staying remote during their meeting last week.

Meanwhile, in Secaucus, their public schools are set to reopen on March 8th.