Star-Ledger Op-Ed: Let’s Help NJ Students Soar
This op-ed originally appeard in the December 12, 2014 edition of the Star-Ledger.
If an airline advertised that only 17 percent of its planes take off and land safely while the other 83 percent crash, travelers would surely choose another airline. Comparably, only 17 percent of Newark public high school graduates go on to attain a two-year college degree or better. But they've got far fewer options than air travelers.
Overall, New Jersey's public schools rank second only to those of Massachusetts among the highest-achieving in the nation. Outstanding schools in Cherry Hill, Princeton and Milburn, for example, boost our achievement data, making it easy enough for some to overlook tremendous challenges in Camden, Trenton and Newark.
This disparity in performance is not just a New Jersey issue. There are schools all across the country, in urban and rural districts, where the failure rate is shockingly high. Newark Public Schools estimates that more than 4,000 young people, ages 15-18, are not even attending school. The reasons are well documented: economic hardship, teen-pregnancy, gangs and crime, incarceration and even boredom in the classroom.
Against all odds, Briana Winbush, an original member of the Newark Trust's High School Policy Advisory Group, actually dropped back into school after a three-year absence. She re-enrolled in a small theme based district alternative school, and well-intentioned mentors supported her every step of the way.
UPDATE: Excellence in School Leadership Awards
Netnavigator Shows Who Is Funding What and Where in Newark Public Schools
On October 17, the Newark Trust hosted its first-ever Webinar on Netnavigator, an innovative tool that easily enables you to see just what programs and initiatives are operating, and, how much is being invested in each of these programs -- school by school -- throughout public district and public charter schools in Newark.
Newark Trust Hosts First Committee of Advocates Meeting of 2014-15
The Newark Trust for Education hosted its first Committee of Advocates meeting of the year on Wednesday, October 22nd with a diverse group of community members, civic leaders and district staff. This meeting focused on the collection and review of initial feedback on Newark's school enrollment process. Participants not only analyzed the obstacles and roadblocks encountered during the enrollment process, they also identified opportunities for moving forward, and were joined by NPS staff members who presented and listened to feedback.
As a broad-based coalition of constituents, the mission of the Trust's Committee of Advocates is to advance public education in Newark and elevate our collective voices in vibrant community conversations to ensure every child has access to a high-quality school option. We look forward to reconvening this committee to review other pertinent policies and issues that support improved student outcomes in Newark Public Schools.