As someone who has spent more than a decade working with Newark students in both traditional public and charter schools, it is impossible for me to sit idly by and let rhetoric trump reality.
As we debate the issue of education in Newark, we must ensure that our focus is in the right place. The only thing that should really matter with regards to this issue is results. Last year, Newark's KIPP Schools sent 92 percent of their high school graduates to college. Remarkably, 94 percent of North Star Academy's graduates went on to a four-year college. Across our city, thousands of students have been stuck on charter school wait lists and demand continues to outstrip supply, suggesting that Newark's charter school network should expand significantly faster in order to serve more students.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the real concern for some is not about developing excellent college-preparatory education for Newark students, but preserving the monopoly of special interests. As a parent, I know that these people are not putting my child first. It is time to dispel the myths and the rhetoric about charter schools and remain committed to serving the students, not protecting political interests.
Yusef Ismail, MHS
A scary moment for N.J. bridges
Larry Higgs isn't kidding when he writes that a group of photos released by the N.J. Alliance for Action depicting bridges around the state that are about to crash to the ground is the group's version of "Scared Straight." I just hope these startling photos bring about action in Trenton.
For those who don't know, the Transportation Trust Fund, which provides funding to fix our bridges, will be defunct in June if our lawmakers don't reach an agreement quickly on funding it. A bipartisan plan is in the works, but an agreement has not yet been met and politics is getting in the way.
These photos remind us all why it is absolutely imperative that Democrats and Republicans stop wasting time, break some bread and fix our infrastructure before it is too late.