I love Newark. I love our rich, diverse culture, opinions and perspectives. Last Monday’s school board meeting taught me a lot about our city.
At the meeting, I witnessed political stunts that garnered headlines and heard rhetoric from paid union leaders who antagonized parents. Those same leaders pit parents against other parents and students against other students but then something remarkable happened. They left. And parents stayed. And a change in civility occurred. We stayed for more than four hours committed to fighting for what we believed was right: equity.
We saw parents who have children in both the public and public charter schools, who decried the polarizing nature of the debate. Although I saw a lot of passion and debate in the auditorium, there were also small conversations being held amongst parents who simply wanted to come together. This really is a new day. Parents came out who wanted to see all children succeed. Parents came out who refused to be bullied, force-fed ideas or disrespected. Parents came out who kept their eye on the prize – our children.
I’m encouraged to stand with parents who put our babies over politics. Although challenging, combative and uncomfortable at times, this was truly a great night for Newark!