Asmaa Abdalla, a 23-year-old Jersey City Board of Education candidate who is a product of the local public schools, wants to focus on school suspensions and graduation rates.
“One of my main concerns are school suspensions, I believe they have increased rapidly and I don’t believe that it’s necessary to suspend a student for bad behavior. Instead we should be implementing other changes for example giving them community service hours,” she explained in a one-on-one interview.
Abdalla considers school suspensions as counterproductive to a student’s education and recounted her experience in Liberty High School when she was sent home and “spent the day watching TV.”
Getting students involved with their schools, instead of sending them home without school work, would help increase graduation rates, the young candidate believes.
Abdalla also criticized Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) school fairness formula as one of the factors “affecting our resources and causing our graduation rates to decline.”
“Our community, we are lower level income. We need this money for our students,” she said.
If elected as a trustee in November, she would also like to work on the financial disparity between charter schools and public schools.
Running independently, the young candidate believes that as a graduate of P.S. 27 and Liberty High School, she understands firsthand what is needed to improve these schools including its facilities, bullying and “students with issues at home that is reflected on their academics and self-esteem.”
Most importantly, as an independent, she reassure that voting for a teacher’s contract is priority and for the best interests of educators.
Abdallah is one of 11 candidates seeking a three, three-year term on the board in the November 8 general election.