I remember standing in line at the career fair at the New Jersey university where I received my Master of Arts in Teaching and certification to teach secondary history and social studies. The line at the Newark table was vacant. No one, not one person, was interested in starting a career in Newark New Jersey public schools. Despite financial incentives, jobs in Newark and Camden public schools are still plentiful.
Bob Braun has been tirelessly covering education in New Jersey on his blog. What is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, where schools budgets and services have been cut, should be a warning sign that people can only take so much oppression, discrimination and segregation.
The battle for Newark's children is also underway.
“We are going to go where others have not wanted to go,” said Robert Pickett, a lawyer with years of experience in the city. “We are going to talk about what no one wants to talk about.”
That would be unspeakably segregated schools in Newark where 90 percent of the children are black or brown in a county, Essex County, where some nearby towns—like Millburn and Fairfield and Nutley—have school enrollments that are 90 percent or more white.
Like the children of Newark, the children of Ferguson do not need more budget cuts, they need wrap around social services, physical education, art, music, dance, tennis and all the other essential programs children have in the private schools and wealthy suburbs. They don't need more multiple choice tests and measurements.
So much for No Child Left Behind closing the achievement gap. Ferguson, MO has popped that balloon. What will the impact be on the Value Added Measurements (VAMS's) of Ferguson's schools if students miss the first weeks of the school year because their city is under siege?
The Governor should hold teachers accountable because after all, we wouldn't want to give in to the soft bigotry of low expectations.