Newark faces historical educational challenges that are coming to a head right now. We recognize that these problems did not start yesterday, and they won’t be completely fixed tomorrow. But students deserve our best efforts for timely, lasting solutions today.
We, the undersigned, are committing publicly to five principles of change that reflect issues on the table right now. Some of these principles have become lightning rods in our community, but we believe they must be embraced as the foundation for change. The Compact for Newark’s Students’ five core tenets are:
- All district and charter-sector leaders must engage with parents, students and community leaders. We believe seeking input from stakeholders on decision-making and implementation will foster cooperation and transparency, and ensure we are providing clear information and guidance.
- All district and charter school leaders must be committed to serving all students. We believe every student deserves equal access to quality and safe schools in their neighborhood, regardless of prior academic performance or special needs.
- All public schools—district and charter schools—must be part of the solution. We think what matters most is that all students have equal access to a quality, safe public school. We do not support a moratorium on charter schools.
- All public resources, including school buildings, must be put to the best possible use. Old school buildings that aren’t meeting students’ needs should be brought up to 21st century standards. We believe all public buildings should be available to all public school students, including those enrolled in public charter schools. And we believe in co-location of schools as long as there are equitable resources provided to all schools sharing the building.
- All Newark students must have teachers who will help them reach their full academic potential and care about their well-being. We believe this means administrators must be allowed to consider a teacher’s proven ability to improve students’ learning and meet other needs when making tough personnel decisions.
Real change will only be accomplished if we work together. This means that all of us, from across the Newark community, need to roll up our sleeves and share responsibility to find workable solutions that are grounded in data and results for kids. Name-calling, finger-pointing and disrespectful behavior have no place in our schools, much less in our conversations about how to make your schools better.
Newark’s education challenges have been decades in the making, but now is the time for us unite around the high-quality education our students deserve.
“As a school leader, I want to see the day when every child in Newark can get a world-class education. This Compact is one way all leaders can take a stand on equity and excellence.”
Jared Taillefer, Executive Director
Great Oaks Charter School
"By signing the Compact for Newark’s Students, we [students] have a voice in the discussion. I’m proud to sign it and show the leaders pushing for real, positive change in Newark that I stand with them.”
Keanna Dunns-Thornes, Sophomore
Paulo Friere Charter School
“At the end of the day, most parents don’t care if their children attend a district school or a charter school—they care that their children attend a high-quality school. The Compact for Newark’s Students reflects that reality and focuses our attention on the key issues that will bring about meaningful change for students.”
Mashea Ashton, CEO
Newark Charter School Fund
"We believe that all of Newark's children deserve great teachers, no matter the type of school they are in. The Compact reflects a commitment to this belief and a reminder that our best efforts will be multiplied if we can work together to achieve better schools for kids."
Michael Ambriz, Chief Operating Officer
NORTH STAR ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL
“The Compact for Newark’s Students is chance to unify around core principles that we can all agree on, principles that put students and their needs first and foremost.”
Nitia Preston, Parent
Middle/High School Charter School
"Joining together in the compact for Newark's Students is a bold step in the right direction toward reform and equality that will address challenges decades in the making. For too many years, leaders in the education community have been building walls between each other. Our kids deserve better, and the Compact for Newark's Students helps tear down those walls and direct us toward solutions that will start serving kids who need our support right now."
Rev. Ronald Slaughter, Senior Pastor
Saint James AME Church in Newark
“Newark’s students deserve the best public schools as well as excellent teachers who can help them reach their full potential. We believe it’s important for the kids attending our schools, as well as all students across the city.”
Ryan Hill, CEO and Founder