NJEA President Sean M. Spiller was a featured speaker at the recent Statewide Conference on Segregation, Education & Opportunity hosted by Building One America.
Spiller, who provided the concluding remarks at the event, issued a strong call for addressing the problem of racial segregation in New Jersey’s public schools. He noted that while “New Jersey is further along the road toward educational equity than many other states due to the Abbott decision… ‘further’ isn’t far enough when it comes to giving ALL students what they deserve.”
He also noted that, although New Jersey’s public schools have an excellent reputation and earn high ratings, “we cannot be complacent. We may be number one in the nation, but we recognize that does not necessarily mean that every student in every school in New Jersey has equal access to resources and opportunities.”
Spiller called on all of the conference participants to “commit together to addressing the other huge structural injustices that have led to segregated communities, massive wealth disparities and even inequitable health outcomes [because] all of those things lead to the inequities in educational opportunities and outcomes that we have to acknowledge and overcome.
He closed by telling conference participants: “NJEA affirms our commitment to recognizing, addressing, and eradicating all forms of racism and oppression. We will continue to focus on engaging and collaborating in teaching and service to our communities that will challenge oppressive and unjust forces. We will work to reduce racial injustices both within our schools, membership and the broader community. We are committed to becoming a justice-centered union, pursing an end to injustice in all its forms and empowering our students and members to march on toward this collective goal.”
Former NJEA President Marie Blistan also attended the conference, where she was recognized with the Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leaders Award along with Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter.