Sunday, October 25, 2015

An Emotional Response to the Newark’s Education Forum

A spot-on op ed by a parent and life-long resident of Newark:

I am a parent and a life long resident of Newark.  I am not an elected leader, but my mom was an educator and activist in this city I love.  I am a product of Newark's education system and my children are now split between a public magnet high school and an elementary charter school.

This week an important Forum took place at NJPAC and sponsored by WNYC, entitled, "Bonanza or Burden?  Facebook's Gift to Newark Schools."  The evening included Mayor Ras Baraka, Superintendent Chris Cerf, KIPP New Jersey's Joanna Belcher, and Dale Russakoff, author of the recently released book "The Prize:  Who's in Charge of America's Schools."

I had hoped that the forum would be an important dialogue on the future of Newark's education system.  Unfortunately, it was just the same political spectacle we have seen in our city for the last few years.  As a result, I left the beautiful NJPAC theater overcome with emotion and greatly saddened by how the political dramas of adults is crippling the future of Newark children. 

…Our education issues have nothing to do with outsiders, the problem rests with those of us in Newark. As Ms. Russakoff mentions, I want to know what happened to the billions of dollars from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and where that money went, when an entire city was receiving a substandard education.

Upon reflection, I now understand the emotion I felt leaving the panel - it was a deep feeling to do right by my children.

It was the desire to act now. 

I am no longer afraid to stand up and speak out when others create unethical arguments in order to place blame where it does not belong or scream out how great my daughter is doing at Thrive Academy via KIPP NJ.  As a parent frankly, I am thankful the money coming in to Thrive is actually reaching my baby, rather than paying a political debt.

It is time we all stand together and make the issue of education about facts - not ideology.

Opinion: An Emotional Response to the Newark's Education Forum

posted by  | 9sc
October 01, 2015 

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