Did the Newark Public Schools boycott hurt students? (Poll)

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on September 23, 2014

About Newark 200 students skipped class today to gather at Military Park in protest of the school district's controversial reorganization plan.

 

NEWARK — Hundreds of Newark public school students skipped school this month in protest of the school district's controversial reorganization.

Many of student activists' had long been critics One Newark, a reorganization plan that involves relocating some schools, expanding charters and changing school leadership. They said school district's leaders had not been listening to the their concerns.

But Newark Public Schools officials said they have met with the students, and while the district supports student activism, instructional time in school is too important to miss.

The boycott and student protest during the first few days of school were supported by the Newark Student Union, NJ Communities United, Parents United for Local School Education and even South Ward Councilman John Sharpe James.

But others disagreed.

Reginald Lewis, the executive director of the Newark-based Chad School Foundation, wrote an op-ed for NJ Spotlight arguing the boycott hurt children in a district that already suffers from high absenteeism rates and low academic achievement compared to its peers.

"At a time of the introduction of the more rigorous Common Core standards and assessments, how will students compelled to participate in the boycott make up for lost time?," he wrote.

Former mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries echoed a similar argument on his Facebook page. "Regardless of what one believes about the merits of the One Newark plan, it's obviously absurd to think it helps our kids by having them not attend school."

What do you think? Is civic activism a good reason to miss school? Or is time in class too precious to waste? Tell us what you think in the comments. And take our informal poll.

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