Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dear Trenton Parents and Businesses: WAKE UP and Save Your Kids

I have no doubt that there are parents, even groups of parents, and local businesses, that deeply care about the education their children are receiving. But I am stunned and frustrated that no one seems to have learned that the people in charge of education in the City and at the DOE are going to do NOTHING radical to change the schools and bring quality education to Trenton.

The kind of change our schools need is going to require a lot of thinking and a lot of work, and from my experience in education you will be hard pressed to find administrators willing to "stick their neck out" and take the initiative and risk that is involved unless they are pushed to do it. Why change the status quo if you don't have to?

All you are going to get from our "leaders" is talk of "new programs," "restructuring," and "improved accountability." But haven't you heard all of this before?

Let's face it, the City of Trenton is nothing like West Windsor or Princeton Townships, but it is time for the children of Trenton to receive an education of the quality received by the kids in these towns. But the demographics of these towns are drastically different from Trenton, the access to human and material resources is drastically different, and the quality of life in these communities are vastly different. Those are facts. The chances of a middle class migration into Trenton is unlikely, and this means that it falls upon the District, along with stakeholders and organized groups of parents to provide the tools that our children need to improve the quality of education and create greater opportunity.
The children in Trenton are no different than the children of West Windsor, and it was only by the fate of birth that they have been born into different families and different communities. Equality of opportunity in education is a right, but insuring that right requires the people of Trenton to fight for it.

I implore, no, I am begging, someone out there to get the ball rolling and create a group dedicated to bringing profound, radical change to the Trenton School District, and especially to Trenton High School. How many more years near the bottom of the list of New Jersey schools will it take before people realize that "half steps" will do nothing. Why are parents willing to wait? Why are you willing to defer to the "experts?"

I have proposed trying to get Trenton High School designated as an "experimental school," in essence turned into something akin to a charter school, and completely transform the school. You don't need to look far- try Atlantic City- to see that a brand new modern school will do nothing to improve education unless something "brand new" is done with the curriculum and the culture of learning as well.

So if there is anyone out there willing to get things started, here is your first volunteer. It is time for the parents to rise up and demand change, and to demand it now. Anything less would signal that the parents of Trenton just don't care, and I can't believe that is true.

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