On February 3, 2020, Laura Waters wrote in NJ Left Behind about ongoing tension between charter and traditional district public schools in Newark, drawing on Paul O’Neill’s January 31 op-ed in the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Newark may have problems but one of them isn’t the production of drama. Recent example: Superintendent Roger Leon declared last month, ““I believe families should make decisions where their child should go [to school] and I don’t think anyone should change that.” Then last week he took the unprecedented step of writing a (boiler-plate, error-ridden) letter to the New Jersey Department of Education demanding that four Newark charter schools be shut down. From all accounts, Leon appears determined to erect a wall between public traditional schools and public charter schools despite a burgeoning collaboration that has led to better academic outcomes for all Newark students as well as a community where over half of parents choose charters as their first choice and 63% of those surveyed see public charter schools as an important part of the city’s public school landscape.
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