Jordan Thomas made his way to his parents’ car parked outside Gate 4 of Yankee Stadium in The Bronx Saturday. In a stadium suite, the Rhodes Trust had just completed the final interviews of the students vying for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. Jordan carried with him life-changing news–a good sort of life-changing news–that he could barely contain.
Today’s guest blog was written by Jordan Thomas, a senior at Newark’s University High School where he is valedictorian and earned a 4.5 GPA. He was admitted to Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Rutgers and will attend Princeton in the fall. He plans to go to law school and become a Constitutional lawyer. He was the student member of the Newark School Advisory Board for this school year. He delivered these remarks at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
I wrote this article for The Star-Ledger nearly a decade ago but the newspaper’s editors refused to print it because I went to Haiti on my own vacation time. I did that because I disagreed with the editors’ judgment that what was happening in Haiti at the time was unworthy of the newspaper’s attention. A modified version appeared in the now defunct New York Sun. This article is dedicated to Maplewood’s Megan Coffee, a Star-Ledger Scholar–her twitter is #@doktecoffee— who, for no pay, has been operating a tuberculosis clinic in Port-au-Prince for more than three years. Her clinic needs your support. Please help her.
So we begin. I will be writing about issues that concerned me for most of my career at The Star-Ledger. Public education. It’s in trouble. Elementary and secondary schools are underfunded and, along with their teachers, under vicious attack. Demagogues and billionaires—sometimes, demagogic billionaires—and their friends in politics simply do not get public education. They do not see what it has done for the nation, how it created the unum out of the pluribus. The privatizers want to put public education on the market, for sale to the highest bidder.