The Newark school system has a lot of faulty procedures, as per many Newark parents. The person in-charge of the system, Superintendent Cami Anderson, has stopped answering the media. I understand that. The main goal is to prepare things for the needs of the students.
However, she did call for a press breakfast on October 14, 2014. The press conference was originally scheduled for October 8th, but due to unforeseen circumstances she changed it to the 14th. To my surprise, there were only eight people from the media, while others were from the staff of the school system. I did not seen big name media like CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox.
She narrated her growth and coming to Newark as a Superintendent, which is remarkable. The conference was to start at 8:30, but she came in about 9:20 and immediately started the program. Due to a prior engagement I had to leave the conference at about 10:00 am. However, our reporter was there and did get some feedback.
Her late arrival to her own press conference did not leave a good impression on the media. Everyone's time is very important. Also, she did not clarify the algorithm, and none of the media asked that question during the breakfast. We emailed some questions to her about the algorithm, as well as whether students can change schools in the middle of the year, if they are unhappy for significant reasons.
She explained in her speech that there are many reasons for the siblings to split up, but not Universal Enrollment. I do not agree with her. Yes, there are some reasons that siblings are split up, like one is in high school and one is in middle school. But when there is a choice, let the students and parents decide. That blame goes to Universal Enrollment in my opinion. If the algorithm is really fair and helping the students and families, why is there secrecy? Transparency is a huge problem. I understand that Anderson is working very hard with the best of her ability, as she explained the whole process. However, that should be done with the confidence of the parents and students.
The Newark Public Schools has started the process in 2012 with many town meetings and the opinion of many experts. However, it was not emphasized correctly, and there was no forums to truly present alternatives. Therefore, they put their plan into place.
Even in a posh area (suburbs), parents and students do not react until it hits when the real time comes. This is why the protests are stronger now than when the town meetings took place. I have seen many around our neighborhood going to jail for parking tickets and sometimes under a hundred dollars. They have not been used to acting way ahead of time, and when license suspended and they have to pay a restoration charge of $100, then it hits them.
The school process is the same thing. Many well educated persons do not file their taxes in time. Do we blame them? Yes; they have to pay the penalty and when they can afford it, they pay it and forget it. In the same way, when the real time came, the parents and children reacted, but for their late reaction, they should not be penalized. Every school is getting enough money per student, and the school administrators are getting paid enough, so they must manage it in the best interest of students.
For not growing Newark School system, Anderson gave a few causes; Newark is below the poverty level, a lack of trust and poor management. She wants to make 100 excellent schools in Newark and make it 40% charter schools, up from 5% charter schools in 2013. I asked a question to myself, are students ready for her huge change? Can the new administrators and teachers of the charter schools improve education? If it does not happen, then does Anderson has an alternative? I am not being negative, but we should prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario.
The way they are trying to force the system and making huge changes, this may succeed also, and maybe Anderson will become a legend for transforming the school system. I wish her and the students the best.
There is a second case of a worker treating Ebola patient Eric Duncan, a Liberian native, who lost his life after traveling to West Africa. The nurse travelled in a commercial plane two days before, when she had a 99.5 temperature. If she has any idea, she would not have traveled. She travelled because she planned that trip. We should not blame her for any reason. We cannot put a quarantine on all good Samaritan doctors and nurses helping an Ebola patient. They are trying their best, risking their lives to try to find out a cure for the disease.
Have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you next week.