Montclair Local’s Tina Kelley reports

A close study of the discrepancies in student success rates by race in the Montclair Public Schools leads directly to a deeper exploration of the challenges students of color face outside the classroom. What factors put them at risk for underachievement in school? How do racial disparities happen, and what can be done to address structural racism?

If the biases of every authority figure children interact with in school could be reduced — as the district was attempting in its districtwide Undoing Racism training for all school staff in 2015 — inequities would still remain because of structural racism: the policies and prejudices of institutions like schools, police departments, zoning boards, local governments, and, more broadly, the shape of the job, healthcare and real estate markets.