Op-Ed: In His Defense of Newark’s Superintendent, Cerf Missed the Mark

No Buses

Anderson’s roughshod implementation of the One Newark plan left many of us in disbelief. After reconfiguring, relocating, and closing many neighborhood schools, Anderson left many students without the buses they needed to get to their new schools and more than 600 students without a school at all. And as much as Cerf tries to defend the missteps made by Anderson, the lack of adequate transportation and the fact that students are hanging in limbo speak volumes about the failure of leadership we’ve seen in Newark.

Not Enough Books to Go Around

Now let’s talk about the books, or the lack of sufficient resources for learning. At Barringer High School in the North Ward, Newark’s largest high school, students lost weeks of teaching and learning time because teachers were not hired, class sizes were maxed out, and there were not enough books to go around -- leaving students woefully unprepared. Some students even reported not having desks to sit at and not having food during lunch hours. This is a big step backward for Newark’s students.

What’s Next?

Newark’s educators, students, parents and broader community are committed to getting it right. That’s why, last May, we unveiled the Newark Promise -- a plan that would provide excellent neighborhood schools for all. Under our plan, schools would be safe, clean, and inviting facilities that are conducive to teaching and learning and that include wraparound services to meet the physical and emotional needs of the community.

These solutions have been proven to work. So, instead of defending failed ideology, as Cerf did last week, let’s shift gears and put evidence-based solutions into practice. All Newark’s children deserve a fair shot. It’s time we reclaim the promise of public education and take back our schools.

Joseph Del Grosso is president of the Newark Teachers Union.

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