Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard (and how the case has affected JC High Schools admissions systems)

In 2014, the Students for Fair Admissions filed a claim that Harvard discriminated against Asian Americans using race in their admissions process. The courts heard the case in October, and Harvard won. Judges claimed that the system Harvard uses ensures diversity in the school.

What was the end result of the case?

The end result of the case was that Harvard’s admissions system was claimed fair by the judges. One stating that there are, “not currently any available or workable race-neutral alternatives. Finally, there is nothing about Harvard’s admissions process that is at odds with the reason for subjecting racial classifications to strict scrutiny—to ensure ““little or no possibility that the motive for the classification was illegitimate racial prejudice or stereotype.”” (Lawyer Committee Summary of Case – Harvard v. SFFA) To read more about why a federal court ruled in favor of Harvard, you can read the case conclusion (pg. 127-130).

How about Jersey City: Admissions policy at McNair and Infinity high schools are changing?

Around the same time as the SFFA v Harvard case, JCBOE questioned changing the admissions systems for McNair Academic High School and Infinity Institute. If you aren’t familiar with McNair and Infinity, they are two selective high schools in Jersey City. They are competitive public schools that you have to apply to. In 2021, the Jersey City Board of Education looked into changing the admissions policies for the two schools in order to “create more socio-economic diversity.” (JCBOE Aiming to Change the Admissions Policy) Right now, race plays a huge role in the admissions policy, but it may play a less vital role for future applicants. The selection process includes race on top of other major things including middle school grades and your PSAT 8/9 score. To read more about what JCBOE has been brainstorming, click here: Moving to Wealth Based Admissions at McNair and Infinity

Facts about Jersey City’s top high schools 

  • Former board President Mussab Ali said in June, statistics show a downward trend of economically disadvantaged students being admitted to the two schools. 
  • The Department of Education’s school performance reports showed the number of economically disadvantaged students attending the schools decreased by about 10% between the 2017-18 school year and the 2019-2020 school year. 
  • More than half of the 427 students at the Infinity Institute fall under the economically disadvantaged category, meanwhile, at McNair slightly more than a third of the 692 students are considered to be economically disadvantaged.

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