Residents Express Concern About Racial, Ethnic and Economic Divides in Edison Honors Program


LIVINGSTON, NJ —  A handful of West Orange residents attended the West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) meeting on Monday to address possible racial, ethnic and economic divides that are emanating from the way the Honors Program is being set up at the Edison Middle School.

Alston Dukes, a student at Edison, said there is taunting between Honors students on the gray team, Grade B students on the yellow team and Grade C students on the green team. He told the board that some students not on the gray team feel stigmatized, and he said does not like the atmosphere that is being created at the school by the division of these “teams.”

Marcia Dukes said that different academic teams at Edison have different academic experiences, including what she perceives as more homework for students in the green team.

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Superintendent Jeffrey Rutzky said this issue has been brought to his attention by Edison parents and said he would meet with Principal Xavier Fitzgerald to look further into this issue.

“I want to find out more about why certain decisions were made, and if adjustments need to be made,” he said

WOBOE member Mark Robertson expressed concern about this issue, saying that parents from more affluent homes can hire tutors to help their children do better in the test to get into the Honors Program.

He asked the board to look into Honors testing, which he said should only include subject matter that students have been taught in the classroom. Robertson added that some districts select students for the Honors Program strictly on grades, not tests. He asked the board to consider this as well.

The next WOBOE meeting will be held on Feb. 13.  

To read more about this meeting, click on the headlines:

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