Remove the Statue of Asbury’s James Bradley, the Jim Crow of the North

By Tom DeSeno

James A Bradley statue in Asbury Park, NJ

Let me solve America’s current war on statues.  Not just weigh in – solve it.

Whether or not to remove a statue should be governed by the “doctrine of subsidiarity.”  What is subsidiarity?   The doctrine holds, “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need.”

In other words, problems are best solved by those closest to the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 25th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Asbury Park, Monmouth County News, Opinion, Race, Tommy DeSeno | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

MMM Year in Review – May

Seal Team 6 killed Osama Bin Laden.

Having lost the legislative map battle, Governor Christie made a deal with Senate President Stephen Sweeney over Supreme Court Justice nominees’ confirmation hearing.  In making the deal, six months before the general election, Christie implicitly conceded that the Democrats would retain control of the State Senate and the Sweeney would remain Senate President.

Howard Birdsall resigned as chairman of the Brookdale College board of trustees.

The world did not end.  The Rapture was rescheduled for October.

The State Supreme Court reaffirmed the Abbott decision, assuring that New Jersey’s educational system would remain racially segregated  and funded by the highest property taxes in the nation.

The Neptune Board of Education made a deal with the ACLU that prevented litigation and kept the high school graduation at the Ocean Grove Great Auditorium.

Governor Christie pulled New Jersey out of the RGGI cap and trade scheme.

86 veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and their families attended a Survivors Reunion and Monument Rededication Ceremony at Thorne Middle School in Middletown.

Rutgers paid Snooki $32,000 to bestow her wisdom upon the student body. They paid retiring University president Richard McCormick $550,000 to take a year off and will pay him $335,000 per year to teach history when he returns.

Posted: December 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: 2011 Year in review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on MMM Year in Review – May

Racial Segregation In A Northern State. A Challenge To My Governor Christie

By Tommy DeSeno, Originally published on ricochet

I’m a bit moved today that an issue I’ve been hammering away at by my lonesome for a decade is finally getting some attention.

New Jersey is racially segregated.   Some of it is naturally occurring or of personal economic genesis. The birth of that kind of segregation requires no immoral act by mankind, though whether something should or can be done about it I leave for another debate.

Some of New Jersey’s racial segregation is state sponsored.  State sponsored racial segregation shouldn’t be, from both moral and economic perspectives. Something must be done about it.

New Jersey has the highest incomes in America, but Camden is the poorest city in America. The only way to have the highest incomes and the poorest city is to have a segregated poor.   Some of that segregation might have to do with the way public housing is built.   That might be a real issue, but that is not my issue today.

My issue is education, where state sponsored segregation is a certainty in New Jersey.   Brown v Board of Education may as well never have happened as far as the racially segregated City of Asbury Park is concerned. That is ironic since Asbury Park has a school named in honor of Thurgood Marshall, who was lead counsel on Brown v Board of Education.  Thurgood Marshall and its sister schools in Asbury Park, the High School in particular, are some of the most racially segregated schools in the country.

Let’s talk about how that happened.  Asbury Park is home to some of the poorest people in New Jersey, and while it is racially diverse, it is majority Black.  It’s only a little bigger than a square mile.  It is surrounded by other small towns, some of which rank as the wealthiest in New Jersey.  They are super-majority White. They are all tiny towns, too small to have their own High Schools. So for about 100 years, children in all the rich surrounding towns attended Asbury Park High School.

Asbury Park High ran well as a racially and economically diverse school.

In 1996 state action occurred.  New Jersey’s Commissioner of Education ruled that 15 miles away, another public school in very wealthy and very white Little Silver, NJ had a better music program than Asbury Park. Therefore, anyone who wanted to study music could be bused past their home school in Asbury Park and go to Little Silver, at taxpayer expense.

Suddenly, an unexplained outbreak of the desire to learn the oboe developed among the White students, who were instantly so musically gifted that they all passed the required audition and were accepted into the other public high school’s music program.

Over the past 15 years, they quietly allowed the rich surrounding towns to peel away from the Asbury Park School District to join districts geographically further away.

That took from Asbury Park it’s economic, cultural and racial diversity.  It left Asbury Park with just he lowest income students in the state, who for whatever reason you may wish to ascribe, happen to be Black.  To look at the class pictures in Asbury Park, you would think that in 1996 aliens abducted all the white kids, because they just suddenly disappear.

Some may not have a problem with this, but that’s only because I have yet to tell you about the money side.   If it is activist courts, social engineering and throwing money at poor schools as a magic elixir that stirs your emotions, behold:

New Jersey had a Supreme Court case called Abbott come down.  It stands for this proposition:  Poor school districts must be funded to the same level as the richest districts in the state. 

Thirty-two of the State’s 500+ school districts are identified as poor “Abbott Districts” and they receive billions of dollars in extra money from the State, because the Supreme Court says they have a “right” to everyone else’s money for being poor.

Asbury Park is one of those “Abbott” districts. It is one of the lowest performing school districts in the state.   Its budget?  About $90 million yearly.  It’s High School graduating class?  About 90 students. 

However, if we didn’t bus all those kids past the Asbury Park district and brought them back home where they live, Asbury Park would lose it’s “Abbott Designation” and taxpayers would save about $60 million in Abbott funding yearly.

Such an easy fix!  Now brace yourself for the ugly side of politics to learn why it isn’t done:

Most of the suburban White people will complain to high heaven about the money Asbury Park gets each year.  But ask them if they are willing to send their children back to their geographic home district, and they will say, “On second thought, why don’t you just keep that $60 million.”

The urban Blacks in Asbury Park are just as guilty.  While they may claim to abhor racial segregation, ask them to desegregate their school and their answer is, “And lose $60 million? No way!”

The children are caught in the middle.  They are racially and economically segregated by state action, and they know it.

Since no one’s hands are clean here, there is no reason to waste time with allegations that this happened because the White towns acted racially or the Black school was greedy.  Just fix it for the children, and the taxpayer.

I have been calling on every politician since 1996 to change that awful “music ruling” and bring the White children back to Asbury Park, or close Asbury Park and send the children to the surrounding High Schools, where each school would have to take only 15 students per grade.

I’ve never gained any traction, because no one wants to admit that Abbott funding is “segregation hush money.”

Until today.  I’m delighted that Art Gallagher, who runs New Jersey’s most prolific center-right blog More Monmouth Musings, has taken up the cause.

Art notes today that David Sciarra, Director of the Education Law Center who was responsible for bringing those Abbott cases, gave a speech yesterday lamenting the racial segregation he suddenly sees throughout New Jersey schools.

That is huge news.  I don’t care if Mr. Sciarra sees racial segregation as his organization’s fault or not.  I’m just glad he sees it.  He, of course, is on the left.  Mr. Gallagher is on the right.  For the first time in 30 years, New Jersey’s left and right identified the same problem with education: Segregation.

Art Gallagher has gained enough gravitas through his blog that he has been granted one-on-one interviews with Governor Christie himself.

I hope Art and Mr. Sciarra can get the Governor’s attention to tackle racial segregation in New Jersey schools.

Posted: May 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Race, Tommy DeSeno | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments »

Education Inequality Is Not About Money. Its About Racial Segregation

Want lower property taxes?  Desegregate New Jersey Schools

By Art Gallagher

Finally!  Someone other than our friend Tommy DeSeno is speaking the truth about what is the real source of New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes and universally failing urban school districts: State sponsored racial segregation.

That’s right.  The reason our property taxes are so high and the reason urban school districts are falling is that New Jersey spends billions of dollars per year to educate white kids while spending even more, per child, to warehouse black kids and hispanic kids.

We make racial segregation sound virtuous by using terms like “home rule,””school-aid equity,” “thorough and efficient,” and “Abbott.”  Then we go to court and argue over how much money the state should send to Newark, Camden, Asbury Park and the other 27 Abbott Districts.   We don’t talk about the racial makeup of those districts, or we use the exception, Keansburg, to argue that the segregation is not about race….its about economics.

Its about racial segregation.  Liberal Blue Jersey’s schools resemble pre-1963 Alabama schools in their racial makeup.

Tommy DeSeno has been a lone voice on this issue for years.  He has used these pages at MMM for at least three years to tell the truth about New Jersey’s dirty open secret whenever a debate over education funding breaks out.  Read Tommy’s words here and here.  Read the comments.

Here’s a sample from November of 2008 for those of you who don’t want to follow the links:

Now, let’s you and I talk about Abbott Districts.

Asbury Park gets $60 million yearly in Abbott funds. It is per capita the most expensive Abbott in the state.

The district includes rich white towns like Avon, Allenhurst, Interlaken and Deal.

In 1996 they started busing the rich white kids past Asbury up to Red Bank Regional, another public high school about 6 or 7 miles away.

That CREATED Asbury as an Abbott district by segregating just the poorest black kids in the county to one school.

Here is a typical conversation I have with people from the rich towns surrounding Asbury:

RICH WHITE GUY: You know Tom, I resent having to send Asbury $60 million in Abbott funds from my tax money each year.

ME: If you stop busing your kids away and put them back in their home district in Asbury, then Asbury will lose its Abbott designation, and you won’t have to pay it anymore.

RICH WHITE GUY: You know Tom, on second thought, why don’t you just keep that $60 million.

Listen grasshopper, I’m going to teach you a dirty little secret about Abbotts, that the liberal press won’t tell you:

Abbott money in Asbury, is “segregation hush money.” Both sides of it are guilty.

White people will complain about the money, but won’t change anything because they don’t want their kids back in Asbury.

Black people will complain about the segregation, but they won’t change it either, because wasting $60 million a year in other people’s money is just way too much fun!

Meanwhile, Asbury kids are caught in the middle, attending a racially segregated school (and they know it), created by busing white kids away from their home district, as if Brown v Board of Education never happened.

There is a government caused racially segregated school right here where you live, Eric. Just like they had in the segregated south.

Tommy’s words have fallen on deaf ears because even after 30 years of the failed Abbott experiment, we would rather keep pouring money into the failed urban/minority districts and waste generations of minority kids lives than risk the “working” white school districts by regionalizing and desegregating the school districts.  We’d rather find a way to keep our “home rule” and come up with a way to make urban schools work, like charter schools,  rather than desegregate the urban schools with the successful suburban school just next door.  Let’s spend several hundred billion dollars more and waste another generation to see if we can make separate but equal work.

Maybe that will change now. 

The most powerful man in New Jersey over the last 30 years,the man who more than any other caused New Jersey school’s racial segregation, David Sciarra, director of the Education Law Center, seems to have recognised the error of his ways, even if he is not taking responsibility for what his Abbott litigation has produced over the last three decades.

According to liberal Star Ledger columnist Bob Braun Sciarra appeared in New Brunswick this week with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and James Harris, the head of New Jersey’s NAACP.  He said:

“By any measure, New Jersey has one of the most segregated school systems in the country,” said David Sciarra, director of the Education Law Center, the organization that brought the school aid cases to the state’s highest court.

“We have to reopen that front,” he added. “We have to start to talk about what we need to do to break down district boundaries.”

If Sciarra is serious about making education work for everybody and wants to start talking about breaking down district boundaries he can withdraw his litigation that is keeping those boundaries in place before the State Supreme Court rules that Governor Christie and the legislature needs to flush an additional $1.7 billion into a failed system in the coming fiscal year.

If Sciarra is serious about making education work for everyone, he will stop measuring education equality by dollars spent and work with, rather against, the government to create a system that works.  

I think he would find a willing partner in Governor Chris Christie, who more than any other elected leader in my lifetime has expressed his commitment to quality education for urban children.

It is time for New Jersey to confront the painful truth about our education system.  We can no longer afford to pretend that money is what will make education work.  We can no longer pretend that we are spending billions of dollars per year on something other than racially segregated schools.

Posted: May 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Education | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »