Increasing Education Quality for Newark Charter Schools
Steve Adubato talks to Shavar Jeffries, President, Democrats for Education Reform, about the importance of increasing the quality of education for nonprofit public charter schools in Newark, New Jersey.
"We're pleased to welcome back our good friend Shavar Jeffries, President, Democrats for Education Reform. Good to see you. Happy to be here. So many things to talk about. What do we mean education reform? What do we have to reform? And why Shavar? Well, you know, in too many of our public schools, both in urban communities, as well as rural communities, the children just aren't getting what they deserve. We have many individual schools that are working well, but as a system, our schools aren't working well enough to really prepare young people for the global 21st century economy. And so we focus on five issues. Standards and accountability, one. And we want our kids taught on the basis of global standards, so they're ready to compete with anybody in the world. We believe in reimagining teacher prep. Our teachers are amazing, but two-thirds of our teachers say that the graduate schools are not giving them what they need to drive instruction in the classroom. So we want to reimagine that. We need reform in higher education. Too many working families simply can't afford college. I mean we also have too many colleges that are dropout factories, where kids are just not making it through. And then we also need more options within the public education space. Because, you know, parents need more choices to align education... Jump on that last one. More options? Yeah. Well... Let's disclose. You and I have talked... born and raised, both in Newark. Yeah. Different wards? There are five wards in the city. We won't get all. You know. Mm hmm. There are five wards. You grew up... Only one ward. The South Ward. Yeah I know. It's the best ward. The North Ward in my world. [laughter] But both of us chose, or both of us had the opportunity, let's say? Yes. You went to Seton Hall Prep? I did. I did. You were part of this initiative called the Griffin Bridges Initiative? I did. Back in 1992. Yeah. Let's just disclose. I did not graduate in that year. Uh huh. You know. Just leave that alone. [laughter] So... and I'm with Essex Catholic. Yes. Which doesn't even exist anymore. Yeah. Public schools were great. But we made that choice. Is that what you mean? Or choice within the public schools? Well, you know what? I mean both. You know, we... the organization I work with, you know, focuses on choice within the public education system. So both making sure our traditional public schools are strong, because we don't believe in one versus the other right? You don't? No. We think... How about if someone says, "Public schools. that's it. That's the way it should be"? Well, for that person, we say that's a choice you should be able..."