I just posted about the complexities of Newark school board politics (see below) and for proof of that check out these comments from Leah Owens, who is running on the "Unity Slate" along with reformy Kim Gaddy and Tave Padilla. These comments are a response to a series of questions from Ballotpedia. None of the other twelve candidates for Newark School Advisory Board responded to Ballotpedia or I'd post excerpts from their answers too.
Should new charter schools be approved in your district?
[Charter school expansion] is undemocratic and has contributed greatly to the instability of NPS. Charter schools in Newark are educating nearly 40% of the student population and are poised to bring in an even larger percentage. As a result, NPS is facing a $50 million budget gap and there is a concentration of special needs students in the District far higher than any individual charter school.
What is your stance on the Common Core State Standards?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a poorly executed, top-down approach to education that solidified the narrowing of the curriculum.
Should teachers receive merit pay?
No. Education is a social process. We must take into account that teachers and other education workers help to shape the human development of children--that means every adult in the building has an affect on the children. How can use measure the effect of one teacher? Even though we have accepted benchmarks for child development, each child is different and should not be classified as a failure because she or he does not reach a particular benchmark at said time. So, how can teachers receive bonuses for that? Additionally, when merit pay is tied to standardized test scores, it has shown to corrupt the system as adults do not want to be seen as failing. Have you read about D.C. and Atlanta??
Ballotpedia also notes that Owens reported $12,748.50 in contributions and $7,208.75 in expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, in addition to resources attributed to the Unity Slate. She's a founding member of the Newark Education Workers Caucus, the badass arm of the Newark Teachers Union, and has been endorsed by New Jersey Communities United.