Across the country, local school boards shape and monitor education policies and programs that directly impact millions of public school students each year. On April 25, Newark, NJ voters should cast their ballots. Participation is vital – it gives community members a chance to have a say in who will have a tremendous impact on decision-making in our local school districts and, ultimately, on our kids.

School board members make important decisions on such topics as curricula, literacy proficiency, and equitable learning, even addressing issues like learning loss and mental health. School board members make these critical decisions based on their values, pre-conceived ideas, and vision for the future, so it is essential to take the time and research candidates to understand their perspectives before election day. The decisions school board members make impact students daily and impact not only the quality of education but school community culture.

Despite the important role school board members play, public participation in our school board election has been very low, with a steep decline in voter turnout over the last five years. Did you know that only three percent of eligible adults voted in last year’s school board election? (Please see the new fact sheet published by the Newark Trust.)

By exercising your right to vote in school board elections, you have the ability to influence school leadership and, thus, the quality of our community. School board members can help ensure learners are provided with all the resources they need to lead our communities and nation to a brighter future. We have a collective responsibility to ensure that school board members have the insight, knowledge, and background needed to build the quality school systems that our kids deserve, so knowing the candidates is key. By electing leaders who are committed to advancing our schools and passionate about serving our community, we can all have a part in creating better futures for our children.