PERTH AMBOY- Perth Amboy parents, leaders, educators and community advocates interested in advancing the momentum of education reform in the City have joined together to form the Committee for Educational Justice. The Steering Committee elected Reyes Ortega and Cecil Graham as Co-Chairmen.
Last summer the Perth Amboy Board of Education, a newly constituted body of forward minded individuals, embarked on an aggressive path of reform with the goal of closing gaps that exist in student performance. “I commend this new board of education for making such bold moves in recognizing that change is needed and that it starts at the top. The new direction marked by the hiring of the new superintendent, new principals at the high school and Richardson School, and new department heads raises parents’ hopes that the decades old achievement gap can and will be closed.” said Cecil Graham, committee co-chair.
Co-chairman, Reyes Ortega added: “Past boards have slept, this board dreams. Failing student outcome indicators have plagued generations of students, as well as the marketability of Perth Amboy residential real estate. Just look at the latest data revealed at the Board’s retreat on Saturday.”
— only 23% of high school grades in core subjects exceed a D;
— a whopping 70% of 5th and 7th graders cannot pass the state’s language arts test;
— the rate of student out of school suspensions exceeded Camden’s – but for mostly minor infractions;
— only half of the class of 2010 were able to pass the standard state mandated graduation test, a test that, according to former Education Commissioner Davy, tests 8th grade level skills.
The Committee for Educational Justice is lead by a steering committee of Perth Amboy residents who represent the full panoply of public education stakeholders. A number of the members are district educational professionals. Their perspective, from inside the schools, is critical and adds the clearest picture of why reform cannot come soon enough for Perth Amboy students. The Committee has resolved to support and defend the many newly implemented and planned programs and policies that require greater accountability and that promise to finally deliver the educational opportunity Perth Amboy students deserve.
In the coming weeks CEJ will be holding teach-ins for parents and residents to learn about the challenges facing our schools and hear why plans for addressing them are necessary.
These sessions will educate residents about Perth Amboy’s educational reality, organize support for the Board’s bold new path, and dispel the emerging disinformation that aims to preserve the status quo and stall reform. The CEJ will support and work with all stakeholders who are committed to ensuring that student outcomes remain the first priority of the Board and meaningful education reform is implemented with all deliberate speed.