The alarm’s been sounding for months now, in e-mail after e-mail from the Montclair Board of Ed…an emergency call to arms. Children in Montclair are not learning. Their futures, and the fate of our community, hang in the balance.
The focus of all the breathless communiques from the Board is fixed on the chronic and seemingly intractable achievement gap evident in the results of yearly standardized tests. These tell us that a sizable number of children in a school system among the most expensive to operate in the state are being left to flounder. In announcement after announcement, we’re exhorted to get involved, to engage in dialog, to help. The missives sound like an SOS from a sinking ship. The underlying message is that this is an unsolvable crisis, that despite initiative after initiative, the cards are simply stacked way too high, and that we’ll have to live with the idea that some children will, in the end, be left behind. Unless, of course, more money enters the local cash flow stream — usually through higher taxes.
But we’re not getting the whole story. Children are teachable, and reachable. There’s no reason or excuse for failure. We know that because of the committed interest, activism, and demonstrated, tangible results generated by the three speakers in the field of education who will address the next meeting of the Montclair Republican Club on Thursday, February 12, 7 pm, at the Club’s Lincoln Day Dinner at Nauna’s Bella Casa.
Sam Cole, a former finance executive, entrepreneur and Montclair parent, also serves as Chair of the NYC Governing Board of Trustees of Success Academies.
Damion Frye, a Montclair native and former Montclair High School teacher, currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools. Damion has been on the education front lines his entire career, both as an teacher and as an administrator, and can speak directly to Montclair’s particular education challenges.
Derrell Bradford, Executive Director of NYCAN, is a prominent lobbyist and spokesman on the subject of school choice in education in New Jersey and New York. A political insider, he understands the mechanics of the education system, and can pinpoint policies that not only work, but that we can implement now.
No subject is off limits, no question is too trivial, and no idea will be dismissed. Come to a meeting where everything is on the table…and where we can start to see the glimmer of progress through accountability.