As many of you have read over the months, I like to try to create some good trouble in Newark.
Sometimes I push the line, sometimes I hit the mark – but let’s face it, if you lie, if you cheat, if you are not transparent – and most of all, if you do not put our Newark kids first,— I am going to call you out.
We are a great city with deep history and pride – but let’s face it, we are also an entrenched city. For generations, our city leaders have not always shared the truth, and many have done or said anything to keep the status quo intact, which basically means they are willing to do anything to keep their jobs.
I will cut to the chase – What Roger Leon reported in our September school board meeting as an outright lie – on par with some of the terrible lies that were said when facing a lead crisis in our city’s water system.
It has been three very tough years in education, where we have all seen a dramatic uptick in learning loss, absenteeism, and parent concern.
As I have said in previous posts, during times like these, we need honesty, vision, and a plan from our Superintendent. And as a Newark parent, I have challenged Roger’s lack of vision and plan for the district, but what we all witnessed at the last school board meeting – was the boldest form of dishonesty.
Roger crossed a terrible line at our Board meeting last month, a line in the sand for many – and there really is no going back.
In front of our School Board and our community, Leon named 13 schools as “high performing” and 18 schools as “beating the odds.”
But here is the rub…recently journalists started looking into this statement – and they found it completely false. You can read the facts here.
So what does this mean? Well, it means a few things.
It means that while Roger may have a lot of elected friends who will do and say anything to keep him in power – even stating lies will not change the fact that our schools are failing our kids.
In desperate times like these, we need leaders who we can trust and who put our community ahead of themselves.
His charade at the last School Board meeting is a new low in governance, civics, and leadership.
His words have created a real ethical dilemma for the Newark School Board, and rumors are running rampant in Newark that Roger may now face ethics charges.
Ethics charges and Newark Leadership is nothing new for us – we have seen this before, and most of us know how this will end for Roger.
Roger may be good friends with Ras Baraka and Teresa Ruiz, which might have gotten him a job and allowed him to stay longer than he should have, but it looks and sounds like Roger’s leadership of our schools will be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
The question for us is whether we are willing to continue to accept lies or demand the truth – and, most of all, allow this status quo mentality to be defended in the coming years.
For the sake of our kids, we need to expect more. Yes, we need to call out Roger – but we also need to challenge his defenders, who seem willing to say and do anything to keep this status quo in place.