Hundreds heeded the call on a blustery, cold, not-very-Spring-like day. The districts I personally saw represented were too numerous to list, but included both urban and suburban districts from all corners of the state, from District Factor Group A to I. The Ledger's failure to report this part of the story is, quite frankly, irresponsible.
|Yup, I was so blown away to be there |
I asked Diane to autograph
the flyer as a momento.
And I'll never forget who stood up and asked a question, directed at me. It was Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, the now President of the Newark School Advisory Board.
Cami Anderson, State District Superintendent, must go.
Not only because she disrespects us, but because we have something valuable to say. You can not hate me and love my child. That is impossible. And we must have local control now. Not in a couple of years when there are only 10 or 15 schools left, we must have it now.
Because Superintendent Cami Anderson refuses to come to school board meetings, refuses to let her senior staff come to school board meetings, is planning to dismiss one-third of the teachers in Newark, is planning to close or alter one-third of the schools in Newark, and we say no.
If Cami Anderson gets away with her One Newark Plan, and we will not let her, because if she does it will be One Paterson, One Jersey City, One Montclair, One New Brunswick, One Perth Amboy, One Highland Park, One Princeton and we will not let that private mess happen all over this country.(Ras Baraka) Whose schools? (Crowd) Our schools!
That's right, not the governor's, not Cami Anderson's, but the families and the people of Newark. We have a right to govern our own lives. We have the right to govern our own school system. We have a right to determine what our kids learn and what they don't. We have a right to determine who's in our kids schools and who's not. We have a right to keep our school buildings open.
They belong to the people and not the corporations. They belong to the people and not the governor. In fact, the governor should belong to the people. They don't have a right to come in our city and tell us what to do. They don't have a right to come in our city and tell us they're going to close our neighborhood schools and then tell you it's reform.
Reform today means close your schools. Fire your teachers. Lay off cafeteria workers. Get rid of custodians. Lay off attendance officers. Get rid of truancy officers. Fire guidance counselors.
That doesn't sound like reform to me, that sounds like dismantling of public schools.That's what is sounds like to me too, Ras and it breaks my heart for the people of Newark. And in case you think Ras is exaggerating the threat to the Newark public schools for effect, allow me to remind you of the words of former NJDOE Deputy Commissioner Andy Smarick. What happens when Smarick's dreams come true?
Said simply, chartering can replace the district. And it can happen in Newark.
Charters already have a 17% market share in Newark. Extremely successful charter networks like KIPP and Uncommon Schools operate in the city, and they are prepared to expand. The district has numerous under-enrolled buildings, meaning charters have space to grow.
Since the state has complete control of the district and the state Education Department is New Jersey’s lone charter authorizer, the state, at the governor’s direction, could lead the transition from a district-based to a charter-based system. (emphasis mine)What say you parents of New Jersey? Do you want the state and this governor to have "complete control" over your schools? How much "market share" are you willing to give up to privately managed, publicly funded charters in your district? 17%? 50%? 100%?
0% (Please read this mind-blowing Bob Braun piece.)
Really think about your answer. Are you willing to give up "complete control" over the governance of the schools in your district?
If you are not willing to hand the schools and children in your community over to the state and charter operators that demonstrate time and time again that they are not truly public schools, why would you sit back and let it happen in Newark? Because as Antoinette so rightly points out, today One Newark, tomorrow One Princeton.
It was a question very like those above that chased Cami Anderson away from public school board meetings. It was the unforgettable moment when Natasha Allen, the parent of a Newark public school student, asked Anderson, “Do you not want for your brown babies what we want for ours?”
And Anderson has yet to return.
Natasha, I, and many others across this state, want the same for your brown babies that we want for all babies, brown or white, and I was proud to come to Trenton to help you fight for just that. We all stand together, and now that districts across the state are united and speaking with one voice on Newark's behalf, Christie and Anderson don't stand a chance.