This past weekend was a very exciting for me. So exciting, I do not know where to begin. Ms. Flowers and I left Arkansas for Mississippi last Thursday to attend the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s Annual Policy Conference, which started first thing Friday morning. The first session, which was about health care, was not very interesting to me. The second session pertained to equitable learning and public education, which automatically grabbed my attention. What made it even better, and an added incentive for me to participate, was a panel that included my congressional representative, Donald M. Payne. In fact, Congressman Payne is from Newark and graduated from Barringer high school, which is one of Newark’s public high schools.
During the panel discussion, they had mentioned two important points, the first being that New Jersey is one of the better places to learn according to the rate of black male achievement. The second being that New Jersey recently won a lawsuit that will improve the quality of “equitable learning” that will be able to take place throughout the state. My question to Representative Payne was “when do we see funding from the lawsuit reach Newark so ‘equitable learning’ will be able to take place throughout Newark because there are AP biology and chemistry classes at Barringer but none with lab, or if there are labs none of them will have working facilities to complete a lab assignment.
He went on to talk about the instability within the school’s administration. After the panel discussion, we had a great conversation where we talked about the present state of his alma mater soon to be mine. He mentioned that there have been at least four principals in the last year and a half. He also mentioned that the principal is only twenty-eight-years-old, which is true. I mentioned the fact that she was the only one willing to take the job and she has done a great job thus far.
After our conversation, he issued a challenged to me. He challenged me to organize a student effort, to see that the principal, school board, and superintendent address all of our future concerns. In the event that there is any instability in the administration the students within in our effort will be able to keep the atmosphere conducive to learning. “Our school motto is truth, honor, and light and to restore our school to its former glory, the students must be able to unite as one unified voice and body,” he said.
To be continued…