Response to Don’t Destroy Christina

Everyone should read DDC’s comments about last night’s meeting.

I was there as well, and I saw a lot of passion from both sides. Here are some of my thoughts:

I think that the crowd mostly acted with decorum (although I will admit that the term has begun to be overused). Good or bad, this was not a forum for an open debate-it was for public comments, which is different. It was also not the forum to fix CSD’s problems.

What struck me was how there were so many different stories. Stories about kids that were bullied, about low income families, about kids with learning disabilities, and so many other families. And so many unique frames of reference: politicians, administrators, teachers, parents, with kids in and out of NCS and CSD, graduates of CSD schools, and Phd’s.

And there were courageous people on both sides-people who admitted they were low income, parents who didn’t speak English very well, or had stage fright, an eighth grader from NCS, the Hoffman’s who decided to speak up and most certainly risked future gigs, several members of the CSD school board who admitted that they needed to do a better job, etc, etc.

I’m not sure if the law needs to be changed or not. I know there is a relatively new accountability law on the books, but Mr. Kowalko insisted it is not enough, so if there is enough political will, fix it. But don’t blame NCS if they follow a law that you don’t agree with.

A couple last thoughts:

The lottery-I truly believe that the lottery is accurate, but it would be good if it was audited by an outside party. That benefits both sides. NCS and every other school performing a lottery should want the community to have complete faith in the results.

Choice-I don’t think the full burden of signing people up for choice to NCS should fall on CSD and Don’t Destroy Christina. We are a community, and we have a shared responsibility here. I live in a very stable community. But when my neighbors moved in, I told them about choice. We should all do that, and out elected officials should do that as well.

We need to find a way to heal these wounds. I love Newark, and I hate to see these fights.

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