Recently, the elected Newark Public School Advisory Board unanimously approved a resolution of “no confidence” in Newark’s state-appointed superintendent of schools. Subsequently, the Newark City Council voted unanimously for an independent evaluation of recently implemented educational initiatives and asked for a moratorium on all new initiatives until its analysis is complete. Not long after the council’s vote, the Essex County freeholders voted unanimously for an evaluation, as well.
Each of these actions is unprecedented and truly astounding — a clarion call. We need to chart a new course in the Newark Public Schools reform efforts, a course of communication and collaboration.
As former superintendent of Newark Public Schools, I am quite aware of the planning, coordination, outreach and time required to implement any significant reform or restructuring initiative. When reforms are implemented with little or no input from the community, there is going to be a level of frustration and lack of ownership because there is no buy-in. These conditions do not bode well for the sustainability of any reform, regardless of its intentions.