Essex County News

Residents Reflect On Segregation and the Magnet School System in Montclair

d8f1694235b51954d80f_906fe3946ac128590c38_9c6660122e4ec4057020_IMG_6971.JPG
Panelists who are involved in the Montclair School District answered questions from audience members. Credits: Megan Spinelli
29325b49e3e475cb93b6_Screen_Shot_2017-03-23_at_4.15.32_PM.jpg
The film "Our Schools, Our Town" was created by Masiel Rogriguez-Vars and was shown as part of the 2017 Price of Liberty Film and Discussion series. Credits: Photo courtesy of the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence
3ef3ac4a95a42428b113_IMG_6955.JPG
Dr. Lillie Edwards hosted the event as part of the 2017 Price of Liberty Film and Discussion series. Credits: Megan Spinelli
f9d3f5c3873aef99ac4d_IMG_6949.JPG
Dr. Lillie Edwards hosted the event as part of the 2017 Price of Liberty Film and Discussion series. Credits: Megan Spinelli
24608b0811dac05f4f54_IMG_6966.JPG
Panelists who are involved in the Montclair School District answered questions from audience members. Credits: Megan Spinelli
468f8041c3299de79927_IMG_6973.JPG
Audience members asked questions regarding segregation and the magnet system. Credits: Megan Spinelli
d8f1694235b51954d80f_906fe3946ac128590c38_9c6660122e4ec4057020_IMG_6971.JPG

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair residents were treated Wednesday night to an informative film and discussion on the history of the magnet school system in Montclair.

Hosted by the Montclair History Center, the Montclair community gathered at the Montclair Public Library Wednesday, March 22 to view the film “Our Schools, Our Town. The film – which is part of 2017 Price of Liberty Film and Discussion Series – documents the history of the magnets, which were started in order to put a stop to segregation in town. Dr. Lillie Edwards hosted the event and began with a PowerPoint presentation.

The slideshow detailed the national and statewide trends of segregation and racism throughout history, and put into perspective how Montclair was a town that followed the trends of inequality.

Sign Up for E-News

“We are often afraid to put that on the table, but in fact it’s right in the middle of the table,” Edwards said. “It’s the centerpiece you might say.”

The film featured interviews with people who have either gone through or worked in the Montclair School District, including former principals, activists, teachers and residents, who all told their stories and experiences with segregation in the district.

Before the magnet system was put in place, schools on the south side of town were mostly minorities and schools on the north side were mostly white. The residents who spoke in the film knew something had to be done to stop this and so the magnet system was born.

Instead of sending children to school based on their neighborhood, parents and children got to choose their school based on the magnet they preferred. Although the magnets have changed over time, today’s magnets include global studies, gifted and talented, environmental science and visual and performing arts, among others.

The event featured a discussion following the film between the audience and various people involved in the Montclair School District. The panel included filmmaker Masiel Rodriguez-Vars, teacher Eli Siebert, teacher Davida Harewood, former Board of Education member Dr. Carole Willis, Councilwoman Dr. Renee Baskerville and long-time resident and former teacher Carol Brown.

One question that was asked by an audience member was about the direction that magnets have taken and whether or not they need to be changed with time.

“Your observations are spot on. Montclair is changing. Our demographics are changing,” Baskerville said. “There’s a value, though, in recognizing that we want to keep our magnets.”

With socioeconomic changes constantly happening in town, Baskerville added that the board of education needs to revisit the system and make adjustments accordingly, but that the system itself needs to remain in place.

“We’re not done. Things continue to change,” Baskerville said. “We need to constantly be vigilant, be aware and advocate for our magnet theme.”

Rodriguez-Vars also touched on how important it is to know why the magnets were even created in the first place, which is something she realized after doing research at the library.

“I had no idea how contentious it had been,” Rodriguez-Vars said, adding that after meeting Willis and Brown, she knew she had to tell the story. “The story was too amazing not to capture on film. I learned from that process that it is absolutely critical to continue to tell the story.”

The filmmaker and historian also touched on how important the PTA and parents are in the district, a sentiment that Willis also echoed.

“The thing that makes Montclair special in so many ways is the community -- Montclair residents who do take a look at what they want and make sure that it happens,” Willis said. “Yes, the magnet schools have changed. Through the kind of interaction between the community and the school district -- that’s an ongoing need.”

Although the Montclair School District has come a long way since implementing the magnet system, Baskerville – as well as the other panelists – agreed that there is work to be done and that the district needs to constantly strive to reach the people of lower socioeconomic statuses.

Still, Siebert pointed out how great the district is and how proud he is to have grown up in the magnet system. He also thanked his fellow panelists for the work they had done to get the school district to where it is now.

“I’m a product of this system and this has changed my life more than you’ll ever know,” Siebert said, adding that because of the magnet system, he was able to attend Hillside Elementary School. “Who knows what my life would be right now had I not experienced Hillside. So everything that you did, I can’t thank you enough because I couldn’t be happier as a teacher.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Pilch Street Pedestrian Bridge over Parkway in Bloomfield to Close this Summer for Repairs

June 20, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Residents in the area around the Pilch Street Bridge over the Garden State Parkway will have to find a new place to watch the July 3 fireworks at Brookdale Park as the bridge will close for repairs starting Monday June 25. 

 Extensive improvements to the Pilch Street Pedestrian Bridge over the Garden State Parkway near exit 151 will start next week. The project is ...

Teen-involved Crashes Kill 10 People a Day Between Now and Labor Day

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - More than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver during the, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2016. AAA reports that the average of 10 people per day is a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

As school lets out for the summer, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_d7070322e7be4f998db8_mountainside_logo_lockup

Wed, June 20, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_8c947cb5aa54e723a2cd_mountainside_bariatrics

Wed, June 20, 7:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_b4f18dfd4f07fd561026_letslisten7-ellington-mplspecs-revised

Fri, June 22, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_984ecc3b936a1ba5ae0c_kingsland_manor_nutley_nj

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Kingsland Manor, Nutley

Floral Design Class at Kingsland Manor Nutley

Education Home & Garden

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Education

Carousel_image_ce51c1baeec53a8dcdfb_st_huberts_logo

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

Carousel_image_84a90ab7ab886a6c6979_lbi_sosc_june_25_2018_02

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Anthony Santomauro, North Caldwell

Legends Baseball “School’s Out Baseball Camp”

Education Health & Wellness Other Sports

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 4 to June 10, 2018

June 13, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/6/18- Officers were dispatched to 351 Broad Street (Quick Check) on a report of a Shoplifting. An employee observed an unknown African American male wearing a beige shirt and carrying a black bag. The suspect placed dessert items into that black ...

Newark students share books and hope with Puerto Rican kids

June 20, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - For Naomi Salazar, a second-grader at South 17th Street Elementary School in Newark, reading isn't just fundamental, it's a foundation of hope. 

"I feel sad that they don't have any books to read, and I want to share my books so they can read them," 8-year-old Naomi said. She and her school are involved in a program to provide books to ...

McGovern's summer renovation closing party celebrates change

It always takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when you walk into McGovern's Tavern in Newark, a downtown fixture since 1936.

But this Friday afternoon, there were two immediate sights that demonstrated something was different.

First, most of the photos, portraits, and articles that cover the bar's walls were removed, the relics of decades of history gone.

Second, you ...

VIDEO: Westfield Police Show Love for Fallen Detective’s Son at Middle School Graduation

June 20, 2018

ROSELLE PARK, NJ — When his dad, a Westfield police detective who died last month, couldn’t be at young Eric Lieberman’s eighth grade graduation from Roselle Park Middle School, 16 members of the Westfield Police Department instead walked across the stage to give him a hug Tuesday night.

“What a beautiful tribute to both my son and his father,” said his ...

9-story apartment complex with roof-top pool formally opens in New Brunswick

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city's latest luxury apartment building recently held a formal opening for the complex on Neilson Street that has a roof-top pool with cabanas and grills, a dog park and pet spa.

The Quincy, a 393-unit, nine story building opened last month, offering studio and one- and two-bedroom apartment ranging in size from 503 to 1,236 square feet.

Mayor James Cahill said ...

Long Beach Township's Tuesday Night Concert Series Kicks Off on June 26

June 20, 2018

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP - There will be concerts on Tuesday evenings at Bayview Park every Tuesday evening this summer. The concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Here is the Tuesday, Long Beach Township Concerts schedule:

Tuesday, June 26:  Mr. Lovejoy

Tuesday, July 3 Chris Fritz and The Impulsives presented by Barlow Buick GMC

Tuesday, July 10   Billy Walton Band ...

State Lawmakers Calling on Feds to Lift Strict Limits on Fluke Fishing for This Season

TRENTON, NJ — While New Jersey anglers began the fluke season last month with strict federal catch limits still in place, state legislators are pushing to have those regulations lifted until there is better data available on the popular fish’s offshore stock.

The State Assembly is asking the federal government to suspend a 40 percent quota reduction that enters its second year ...

America's Celebrated Evolving Journey

June 17, 2018

This Fourth of July, the United States of America will celebrate its 242nd birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Our Nation was conceived in liberty at its core. Together we the people, with ancestors from every part of the world, continue the struggle to live by its founding noble principles.  Namely that, “We hold these truths to be ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Bloomfield Bengals Sports Update May 21, 2018

Volleyball advanced to the County final with wins over Science Park and Montclair. Unfortunately, Livingston got the better of the Bengals in the County Championship Match.   

At the County Track and Field Championship Meet the Girls Team had a fine showing placing 5th overall. Leading the way was Kaela Edwards-2nd in high hurdles and Aicha Naouai- 2nd in javelin. The best ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update May 14 2018

 At the SEC Championship Meet La’Shan White equaled his school record in winning the 400-meter hurdles. He also won the 110- meter High Hurdles and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team. Aicha Naouai won the Javelin with a throw of 126’6.5(#9 NJ) and the Discus with a mark of 95’5”. Warlys Lizardo won the Boys Discus at 120’.

Kristina Collins reached ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 20, 2018

STATEWIDE - What? So you are saying the state's pawn shops, second-hand stores and scrap metal yards are mob-infested? How could that possibly be? Well, just ask the scrappy State Commission of Investigation, which issued the 100-page report yesterday detailing how the mob is encouraging drug addicts to steal items to fuel this in-the-dark industry. Not only are these ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

NJ 11th for Change Endorses MIKIE SHERRILL for Congress

June 19, 2018

NJ 11th for Change Endorses MIKIE SHERRILL for Congress

Sherrill Meets Group’s Endorsement Criteria and Will Best Represent District’s Values

MONTCLAIR, NJ – NJ 11th for Change announced today that it has endorsed Mikie Sherrill for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 11th Congressional District of New Jersey.

After a comprehensive process including candidate ...

Rutgers Equine Science Center Annual Summer Showcase Scheduled for July 11

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Equine Science Center at Rutgers University is hosting its annual "Summer Showcase" from 10 am to noon  on Wednesday, July 11 at the Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory on College Farm Road on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick. The Summer Showcase, similar to an open house, is a FREE event that is open to the public and perfect for any and ...

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Start June 23

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill Proclaims June LGBT Pride Month

NEWARK, NJ – Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill announced that the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution at their last meeting, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, proclaiming June as LGBT Pride Month in Essex County.

“I am proud to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters in recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, and look forward to continue working ...

Obituaries

Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more
Sep 4, 1943 - Jun 10, 2018
William “Bill” Tangorra, 74, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away Sunday June 10, ...
Read more

The End of Jets Mini-Camp

After a week of crystal clear cerulean skies over 1 Jets Drive, the New York Jets just wrapped up their mandatory full squad mini-camp.

New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles held press conferences after practices last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Jets fans have lots of questions at this time of year on what to expect from their team this fall. The press questions covered a wide ...

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...