The outrage of the community at the unconscionable attempts to ram Charter schools down the throats of Patersonians has caused the state Department of Education (DOE) to temporarily pause its efforts.  The power of parents standing up and telling the administration what they do and do not want in their community has been clearly demonstrated.  There is nothing more powerful in the educational arena than this.  Regrettably, parents do not avail themselves of the opportunity to weigh in on crucial issues frequently enough.  But when they do...! 

The state DOE also realizes that as issues fade from the headlines, that people become distracted and lose interest.  It is then that they intend, seemingly in the quiet of the night, to revisit this issue.  Hence this community must remain ever vigilant. You cannot fade away into the background and believe that this temporary respite that you earned by voicing your concern will end the matter.   You must remain engaged and continue to weigh in on what kinds of things occur in your children's school district. 

So do not stop now.  Don't relax or believe that the fight is over.  Continue to pay attention.  There are many other aspects to the governor's plan for urban education they you will find equally repugnant.  Regional Achievement Centers are coming that will go directly to school buildings to monitor their educational effectiveness and to determine if they should stay open. They will do this with little input from the district administration, the school board or the community. In effect, they will forever take away local control.  All this while the governor cuts funding and raises standards, making it harder to meet these new standards. 

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On May 19, at International High School at 10:00 am, we will have a community forum to help inform you of other things that the state DOE plans to do to your educational system and things you can do to mitigate its impact on your children.  Let's build on the momentum you have created and stop the state from undermining public education in the city of Paterson.

Jonathan Hodges