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What getting thrown out of high school taught me about equity

Barbara Martinez, the executive director of the New Jersey Children’s Foundation, shares her personal experience with inequity in education. At 14, she faced expulsion for using a false address to attend a safer school. Despite graduating college, she struggled due to her inadequate high school education. Martinez highlights the systemic barriers low-income students face, with only 15% graduating college. As the foundation’s new director, she aims to prioritize children’s interests and address pandemic-related learning losses. Martinez advocates for collaborative efforts to improve all schools, ensuring every child has equal opportunities for success. She urges collective action to rewrite the narrative of educational inequality, drawing on her own journalistic experience of witnessing systemic injustices.

“Now is the time to write a new story. In this story, a family doesn’t have to lie to get their child into a better school,” Martinez said. “In a city like Newark, where a number of schools, both charter, and district alike, are already showing that a great education is possible, I see a path to a collective approach where different types of schools and organizations all over the city can work together toward our shared success.”

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