A Newark resident and mother to school age children, Ezdehar Abuhatab has over 20 years of experience working in public education. An advocate for quality education for all Newark’s children, Ms. Abuhatab was elected to North Star Academy’s School Board and hold membership to the following organizations: National Education Association; New Jersey Education Association; and the Hearts of Vailsburg Club Coalition.
Ms. Abuhatab supports the development and implementation of rich college readiness curriculum. She is also a proponent of an active monitoring system for all board contracts and budgets. Competitive recruitment and employment policies in hiring highly qualified worker are also causes she champions.
Engagement of Parents and Community
Schools and the community should be a safe haven for students. It is important for parents and the community to collaborate on school improvement for our students. This is something I am frequently involved in and is most certainly competent in facilitating. We should not see the schools, the community, and our homes as separate entities, they should extensions and/or complimentary to each other.
Fiduciary Responsibilities (Budget, Potential Deficit, Contracts, etc.)
One of the things I found out is that NPS invest a great deal on consulting/contracting; I am not diffusing the need for expert advice, but not at the sacrifice of limiting the classrooms’ resources; Trump might be reducing the education budget by at least 9.2 billion dollars, so I am concerned about the 3 million plus dollars invested in staffing of Special Assistants. Not only are their titles vague, but also their responsibilities. This is excluding their benefits which can total up to possible other half a million dollars. Again, I am not refuting the need for roles, expertise, or services that the district may need, but some transparency and justification is needed. Hence, we can look at deficits both fiscally and educationally.
Ability to review and adopt Effective Educational Policy (One Newark, Required Assessments, etc.)
I have been fortunate to be engaged in Essex County College’s Pre-college programs and an active member of my children’s Elementary school Board and PTA. Both opportunities have given me the advantage of taking a closer look at school assessments, school choice, and special education needs. I must say that as a parent I am very pleased with the 3 assessment options for graduation (I think the PARCC made us all nervous); I am especially pleased that students can take a college assessment (the ACCUPLACER) to determine their readiness before even setting foot in the college.One Newark, seems like an ideal concept, but I have seen the cons in it because, really, how much of a choice or GOOD choice do we really have. I am happy that at all levels of government, special education policies are still in place to support our students with special education students. Even our dear president seems to be keeping his thumbs off of its budget.
Ability to review and adopt Effective Curriculum and Programs (Culturally Relevant Curriculum, Literacy Development, Math, etc.)
I will bring to this board my expertise on Curriculum and Program development. As stated earlier, at Essex County College, I am active in supporting the Pre-college programming that serves both the general and marginalized high school population. I have been involved in advising on the need for rigorous math and science curriculum and instruction. I also recently held the post as chair of assessment for the Chemistry program at the college that met middle states standards of accreditation and co-chair the same for Biology. Curriculum and programming has been a crucial role for the last 7 years in my role as an educator; I understand its facets at both the primary/secondary and tertiary level. I see that schools have been incorporating Hispanic and Asian cultures in their curriculum and it is commendable. However, we are a diverse city and nation and I believe that all cultures should be represented in the educational (curriculum) system because we support and believe in the culture of inclusion. We have to remember that our students will be entering the corporate culture and they should never experience a cultural shock.
Accountability and Autonomy (Superintendent, Principals, etc.)
I believe that all stakeholders should be accountable for district spending and outcomes. I have no issues with leadership at both the school and district level having high level of autonomy on the latter, but again, transparency is key and intervention, when necessary. The people who work closely with the schools and students are best to assess the appropriate needs, but during transparency there is a need to suggest cost effectiveness, then the board should engage.