As someone who has spent more than a decade working with Newark students in both traditional public and charter schools, it is impossible for me to sit idly by and let rhetoric trump reality.
As we debate the issue of education in Newark, we must ensure that our focus is in the right place. The only thing that should really matter with regards to this issue is results. Last year, Newark’s KIPP Schools sent 92 percent of their high school graduates to college. Remarkably, 94 percent of North Star Academy’s graduates went on to a four-year college. Across our city, thousands of students have been stuck on charter school wait lists and demand continues to outstrip supply, suggesting that Newark’s charter school network should expand significantly faster in order to serve more students.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the real concern for some is not about developing excellent college-preparatory education for Newark students, but preserving the monopoly of special interests. As a parent, I know that these people are not putting my child first. It is time to dispel the myths and the rhetoric about charter schools and remain committed to serving the students, not protecting political interests.
Yusef Ismail, MHS