Education reform and human trafficking in New Jersey are the subjects of separate programs under a partnership between the YM-YWHA of Union County and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Union County Section.
The presentations, one by Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun, the other by FBI special agent K.I. Davis, are part of an ongoing collaboration between the two organizations that also includes social events for seniors.
The organizers “hope these two knowledgeable professionals will enable the community to become better informed and able to identify appropriate steps to influence public policy and create services to assist those in need,” said Susan Coen, cochair of the NCJW NJ State Public Affairs Network.
The topics, she said, are in line with NCJW’s fundamental principles and its efforts to advance the well-being of children and families.
“That includes quality education for all, utilizing public funds for public schools only, and comprehensive services and policies that enable all children to succeed in school,” she said.
The first event, on Wednesday, Sept. 14, features Braun, the Star-Ledger’s education editor and news columnist. He will discuss “Education Reform, Charter Schools, and Vouchers: What is Happening in New Jersey Now?”
Braun, an attorney and a 30-year veteran of The Star-Ledger, will talk about charter schools — who is behind them, who profits from them, and how successful they are. He also said he plans to touch on such topics as the privatization of schools, the difference between vouchers and opportunity scholarships, and how teachers and student performance should be evaluated.
This “a critical time with regard to education as an engine of the public good,” Braun told NJ Jewish News. “The old assumptions are being called into question by forces like the Tea Party and far right organizations. Things are changing in ways that were unheard of a few years ago.”
The second event, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, features Davis, an investigator of civil rights violations in the Newark office of the FBI. In her talk, “Human Trafficking in our Communities: What Can We Do About It?,” she will discuss “the what, who, why, and how” of the phenomenon, she told NJJN.
In its fight against human trafficking, NCJW has also partnered with a number of other Jewish organizations from across the country and state under the banner of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. JCPA’s stated goal is “to educate the community about the horrors of labor and slave trafficking, and to create an educational toolkit to raise awareness and put an end to human trafficking.”
Davis spoke on the topic last year at an NCJW Essex County Section event. Coen described her as “an informative and compelling speaker.”
The events, taking place at the Y at 8 p.m., are free and open to the public.